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First Cruise-In a success, thanks to the community

What a fantastic evening we had at 700 Channel Lane Thursday, for our first Marietta Times and Parkersburg News and Sentinel Cruise-In.

While the rain did give us a bit of a scare, we were fortunate to have good weather, good food, good music… and one heck of a turnout.

It’s true, we underestimated the number of vehicles for which we would need room — we had 133 registered participants, and were forced to turn some folks away when we ran out of spots.

But it was wonderful to see so many take interest in our event, and we were happy to try to squeeze cars and trucks into spots on the grass, give the motorcycles their own little slivers here and there… it was a great problem to have.

It is also one we should have expected. After all, we did advertise the event in our newspapers. Sometimes even we forget how effective that form of communication can be. Thursday evening was a very pleasant reminder.

We were also glad the event gave us an opportunity to welcome the community to our offices. It has always been a priority for The Marietta Times to participate fully as a member of its community, not simply report on its happenings. In this case, we are the newcomers to the car show and cruise-in community, and we are grateful it seems we were welcomed with open arms.

I had fun simply interacting with the vehicle owners and their families and seeing the beautiful job they have done in taking care of their treasures. But I’m a people-watcher, too; and it was nice to be an observer while others walked around asking the questions for a change. The people who attended our cruise-in were just as interested in finding out everything they could about the vehicles around them as they were in showing off their own hard work.

There was laughing and teasing — including one gentleman who good-naturedly gave me a hard time each time I ran into him because each time there was either a ticket to sell, a form to be filled out, a photo to be taken or an announcement to be passed along. Administrative nonsense didn’t put too much of a dent in the festivities, though. We got past all that as quickly as we could.

(Participants will be featured in a special publication coming in July. And, well, we are a newspaper. We gather information.)

There were plenty of suggestions made — and while we felt as though our first cruise-in was a success, we also listened, and have plans for implementing some of the changes suggested when we give it another try. That is what is so nice about being part of a community like ours. No one is shy about offering compliments and suggestions at the same time; and we were glad to be able to take both.

I think I speak for the rest of the newspaper staff on hand that evening when I say we had a wonderful time. That is not always the case on the day of an event for which there is a little work involved. But the folks who accompanied those 133 vehicles made it so, and we look forward to the chance to do it again.

Christina Myer can be reached at cmyer@mariettatimes.com.