After months of winter cabin fever and a cloudy erratic spring the season seems to be turning into a warm toasty summer. With it comes a season of activities. Many in New Jersey plan to spend most weekends on the road to and back from the Shores. But, there are lots to do within the week in Towns away from the coastline. In Woodbridge we started off the season with a Street Fair. The Mayor’s Summer Concerts have started. Soon to arrive will be the first of the three car shows – or The Woodbridge Downtown Cruise.
All Cars Welcome
The Woodbridge Downtown Cruise brings in dozens of vehicles to Main Street. And that will be true for this season too. Cars range from the Chevy or the Studebaker to the Polaris Slingshot. The Downtown is roped off from Amboy Avenue to Fulton Street for the show. The cars line up parking diagonally and once the slots fill out, cars go to the overflow lot.
Most owners are happy to show them off and entertain you with anecdotes and stories. Some, like the Polaris Slingshot, don’t mind you, or your kids, climb in and pretend-drive them. But most are rather sensitive and protective about their precious charges (as they should be.) In those cases remember, you may peer into the cars, sniff them, take photos without asking, but not lay your hands on them. If you look close you may even see a sign that says, “Don’t touch me. I am not that kind of a car.”
Speaking of signs, like any other Show or Cruise there are plenty of signs and display in, on, or around the cars. Owners display trophies won in previous shows with pride. You may suddenly be aware of a life like tiger peering at you from within a car. Food trays from drive in Diners have realistic burgers on them that may even fool the odd bug. A dog with its hind leg up against a wheel may not care that you are too close. That is because it is not a dog, but a prop.
The price is right
Well, there is a lot of fun. And the price is just right too. There is no admission fee to the event for either the cars or the audience. Patrons may bring in canned food for people and pets to the car registration booth in front of Carpet Maven. The food goes to local food banks and animal shelters. The entrants fill out a registration form and become a member.
What do you know about our DJ Chuck?
There are food carts and stores come out and offer samples or coupons. Watch out for those treats. Or if you want to stop by at either the most known eateries or the hidden gems. All these have been quality checked by visitors like you.
All this mixes very well with the music. The DJ in charge will be the “versatile and enjoyably slightly off center” radio personality, voice over actor Chuck Leonard. His accent repertoire of standard stage, Scot, Polish, Russian, Spanish, New Yawk, New Joisey, Mid-Atlantic Ocean, All American, weird commercial, cartoon and inane.
For those who are not familiar with Chuck, he is been on the radio since 1965 for WIP, Philadelphia, WWBZ, Vineland, New Jersey, WHDH, Boston, WJDM, Elizabeth, NJ, CBS-FM, WOR AM-TV, WNBC-AM, WABC-AM, WINS-AM, NYC. When Chuck was at WJDM Radio, he reported the Rahway Prison Riots from the inside. He also reported the John List killings, both being broadcast nationally. During his work at WHDH, CBS broadcast Chuck’s coverage of the raising of Teddy Kennedy’s Oldsmobile from Chappaquiddick.
We are sure we will not need those national broadcasting skills. All he will do is bring the musical zing to environment of classic card and family fun. You will see Chuck’s mobile DJ Entertainment Service, The Chuck Leonard Radio Show, operating since 1970, in full splendor. By now you have figured out that Chuck is an old, old, old favorite at the Woodbridge Downtown.
A dash of local Car-Show History
Not as old as the history of car shows in the area, though. On Friday, April 4, 1930, “The Carteret Press” reported that the “Packard Open Car Show Begins Tomorrow.” It said, “Packard has set aside the week beginning April fifth for its annual Open Car Show. Throughout the territory of the Packard Motor Car Company of New York during that week many fine examples of the increasingly popular roadster, phaeton and convertible will be on display. The models selected to illustrate the latest developments in the open body are taken, from Packard’s Standard, Custom, DeLuxe and Individual Custom lines, the first two having wheelbase of 1S4 1-2 and 140 1-2 inches respectively. The DeLuxe and Individual Custom are mounted on the 145 1-2 inch DeLuxe chassis.”
Let us know when you have figured out all of it! Moving to more recent times, the Woodbridge Downtown Cruise has crossed the 20 year mark. It had originally been a Township & Chamber event before they handed it over to Leon and Sherri Schwartz who own The Carpet Maven. The Cruise is inclusive in nature with no constraints on the age and make of the vehicles. There no entry fees for the cars and there is no formal point-system judging of the cars.
There are Trophies too!
The car owners who choose to register may win a trophy in one of the categories. The trophies are sponsored by local businesses and the judges are made up by locals – ranging from doctors & businessmen to car enthusiasts. Not everyone wants to be evaluated, though.
The event is popular with kids and adults alike. So go to our Facebook Page event and log your RSVP response.