It’s time to bring out the Charger, pop in that mix CD of old ‘70s and ‘80s tunes, and cruise down Main Street Saturday night.
Cruisin’ the Strip kicks off at 7 p.m. at the old Nino’s location, now Frank’s Pizza, at Second Street and Mitchell Avenue, ends at The Pavilion—the former “I Got it at Gary’s” location—and repeats for two hours as residents near and far celebrate the halcyon days of Lansdale.
Cruisin’ the Strip has its roots in the “You Know You Grew Up in Lansdale If …” Facebook page, which has more than 2,000 people as part of the group.
“One post that really had a lot of attention was the ‘Remember Main Street Cruising on Friday and Saturday Nights,’” said resident Ray Liberto. “(Resident) Debbie Henning and I really started to chat up getting a real date set to try it out, and the post grew from there.”
On a Saturday night picnic, Liberto, Henning, and Henning’s brother Bill got to talking about the event and convinced themselves to make it happen.
“After choosing a date, the power of Facebook created the buzz,” said Bill Henning. “Surprisingly, many didn’t think such an event was possible because of the rocky history of cruising in Lansdale.”
Many insisted the officials of Lansdale would never embrace it, Henning said.
Debbie Henning made an event on Facebook, and the invites went out.
As of Friday, 128 people are attending.
“Some of the comments we were getting were ‘Lansdale will never let you do this’ and ‘It will get shut down.’ Bill Henning reached out to Chief Robert McDyre and I talked to a few borough council memnbers, and they all felt it was OK to do,” Liberto said.
Bill Henning said the response was very encouraging.
“It is funny: There is such a variety of ages that have responded and plan to attend,” Henning said. “I really don’t think I understood the true history of cruising in Lansdale.”
Henning said his parents cruised Main Street in the 1960s and are looking forward to it Saturday night.
“Deb, Ray and I did it in the mid-80s. That was the thing to do for many of us,” Henning said.
Nostalgia is the key with Cruisin’ the Strip.
Just visiting the event page shows comments from people excited for the event.
“Can’t wait to relive some good memories,” wrote one poster.
“I met my wife cruising the strip,” wrote another.
“I met my husband at Nino’s,” wrote another.
“Will definitely be there in the Jeep. Hope it’s warm enough to go topless! Just hoping I don’t get a ticket like I did back in the day for my radio being too loud,” wrote Tracy Musselman Hammer.
“I no longer have my killer Chevelles that I’d cruise around town in, but I will be there with bells on,” wrote Teri Lynn Smith.
Steve “Big Z” Zong asked if he can cruise in his Nissan Sentra since he doesn’t have his Dodge Challenger anymore.
Christine McLaughlin Doman remembered her CB handle was Snap Crackle Pop.
Tom Beerley posted a Point-Counterpoint article he wrote at 17 that was published in the April 23, 1993, edition of The Reporter.
“I’m in. Just got the IROC,” wrote Charles Kaelin.
“I can see it now,” wrote Carol Flenders Strouse. “A lot of family sedans and minivans cruising the strip.”
Do you know the Cruise Route? Bill Henning posted it on the Facebook group. And it goes like this:
- West on West Main Street, right on North Mitchell Avenue, left on Mill Street, right into parking lot, loop around back on Mill Street, right on North Mitchell Avenue, left on West Main Street, right on Railroad Avenue, right on South Broad Street, right into the Lansdale Pavilon lot, loop back around to go north on South Broad Street, left on West Main Street. Repeat.
Liberto said Bill and Debbie Henning were a big part in getting the event off the ground.
“I think Saturday will be a fun night for us 1970 and 1980 teenagers and a good night for Lansdale,” Liberto said.
After cruising, participants will stop for a bite to eat and a few beers at some Main and Broad Street bars that have offered coupons for the event.
“Several downtown businesses have also embraced the idea and are offering discount coupons for the night that we are posting on Facebook,” Bill Henning said. “Overall, this has the makings of being a very good win-win situation for all.”
Businesses taking part in the event include Molly Maguire’s, offering two for one domestics; Main Street Grill, offering 25 percent off an order; Frank’s Pizza, offering two for one slices; and Montella’s Pub, offering 20 percent off an order.
You can print out coupons in our photo gallery.
Furthermore, a limited number of Lansdale Cruising shirts were made— 10 to be exact. Henning is auctioning off the last two shirts during the Cruisin’ the Strip event, and all money will be donated to Manna on Main Street.
One shirt will be auctioned off at Frank’s Pizza at 8 p.m., and the final shirt will be auctioned off at Montella’s Pub at 9:30 p.m.
The thought is to make Cruisin’ the Strip an official annual Lansdale event.
“We are kind of testing the waters to gauge interest in pursuing that possibility,” Bill Henning said. “Lansdale is a very nostalgic town, and this just falls right into it.”
Henning said it brings people out and into the downtown area for a fun evening.
“There is a lot of potential and a few directions we could go with it, but obviously this Saturday night will help in determining what direction that will be,” he said.
In the event of rain, Cruisin’ the Strip will be postponed. Stay tuned to the Facebook event page for details.