On May 28, Hay River held its first Cruise Night of vintage and unique vehicles, including this 1969 Thunderbird owned by Robert Bouchard, one of the organizers of the event.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Hay River held its first Cruise Night on May 28 – a parade around the community of vintage and unique vehicles.

About 30 vehicles, along with 10 motorcycles, participated in the cruise, and many community residents took the opportunity to watch the parade.

Robert Bouchard, one of the organizers of the event, was pleased with the turnout.

“We had a good group of cars and bikes that showed up, and then we had a good crowd of people when we went by. Lots of people in their front yards and lots of people downtown,” he said. “It was a good event, I thought. I was quite surprised with how many people were there.”

The Cruise Night was presented by the same group that has organized the Wally Schumann Sr. Memorial Show & Shine in late July for the past two years.

However, a show and shine is not expected to happen this year because of the Covid-19 crisis, and the Cruise Night was presented in its place in memory of Wally Schumann Sr.

“It’s the first time we’ve done it this way,” said Bouchard of Cruise Night. “We usually do a show and shine. Because of Covid we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to host an event like that.”

A show and shine is a large outdoor event of probably a couple of hundred people, including vehicle owners and visitors, he noted.

Bouchard said that the Cruise Night is based on similar events in other communities, such as Yellowknife and Grande Prairie, Alta.

“So this is a concept of just picking a night and just kind of going for a little cruise,” he said.

Bouchard added it has not yet been decided if there will be another Cruise Night, although there is some talk about that.

“We’ll see how it goes and maybe give everyone more lead time,” he said. “I know there’s lots more cars and bikes in town.”

The idea for Cruise Night in Hay River originated with Linda Carter, who thanked participants in a Facebook posting.

“The energy and interest was extraordinary,” wrote Carter. “Thank you to all the spectators who came out and braved the cool bite in the air. We do realize that a street or two were missed, but we will catch those streets on the next cruise.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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