Local group to hold Fourth of July car cruise

Published Jun 26, 2013 at 7:14 am (Updated Jun 24, 2013 at 11:50 am)

For years, Bill Allsop of Bethel Park attended car cruises, looked at the cars and talked to the car owners and wished he had a car to show.

“For my 60th birthday I bought one,” said Allsop, who describes his 1995 red and white Chevrolet as a “muscle car.”

Allsop still attends the car cruises, but for the last 10 years, those not displaying cars have looked at his with envy.

One of the regulars at local car cruises, Allsop says he enjoys socializing with other car owners and those who come to see the cars.

“They take the time to look at the cars and talk about the cars their dad had or their mother had,” he said. “I like the people.”

Car cruises can be found almost any day of the week throughout the summer at local venues such Al’s Cafe on McMurray Road, where a group that goes by the acronym NRND (No Rules, No Dues) congregates from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday evenings.

For the Fourth of July, the group is planning a special cruise which will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on the Thursday holiday. The special event will include a disc jockey, who will be spinning some patriotic tunes along with the usual car cruise music, and a POW/MIA empty table ceremony by the members of the Keystone Young Marines.

Al’s Cafe, which regularly runs food specials to eat in or take out, during the Wednesday evening cruises, will be offering specials during the holiday event.

Jim Gastgeb, one of the group members, said owner of Al’s Cafe, which allows the group to use a roped off area of the restaurant parking lot for car cruises, will be giving patriotic dash plaques to the first 75 car owners at the event. Dash plaques are memorabilia that car cruisers collect and treasure, Gastgeb explained.

Car owners are welcome to bring their cars, set up a chair and swap car stories with other participating car owners and car admirers, and enjoy food and entertainment along with the classic cars.

“Our policy is ‘If you love it, bring it,’” said Gastgeb, adding that the cruises usually attract about 200 cars of various makes and models.

Gastgeb, who owns several cars, said he plans to take his black and gold 1980 Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am to the Fourth of July event.

Local car cruisers can be found at Gill’s restaurant on Brownsville Road in South Park Township on Monday nights, Al’s on Wednesdays, and Mineral Beach on Fridays. On Saturdays, the group alternates between the McDonald’s on Racetrack Road in Washington and the Giant Eagle at Donaldson’s Crossroads in Peters Township, and on Sundays they congregate at Caste Village, Gastgeb said.

In addition, the group is planning to hold its Fifth Annual Rev ‘Em Up for Kids event from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. July 28 at the South Park Fairgrounds. Cost to attend the event is $5, with seniors and children getting in for free. Along with cars, and entertainment by Johnny Angel and the Halos, there will be special events such as a bouncy house and face painting for children. Over the years, that event, which helps support the Bethel Park Junior Football Program, has raised enough money that the group was recently able to fund $109,000 worth of work for the field at the Bethel Park Community Center on Park Avenue, Gastgeb said.

But, the events are really about the cars and the people who love them, said Allsop, who worries that the younger generation won’t have the same affinity for the classic cars that he and his friends do.

“I don’t know how much longer these old cars are going to be around,” he said.

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