A Shelby Cobra is driven down Harper Avenue during the 2017 Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise. This year’s cruise is set for 5-9 p.m. Aug. 29.

A Shelby Cobra is driven down Harper Avenue during the 2017 Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise. This year’s cruise is set for 5-9 p.m. Aug. 29.

File photo by Sarah Purlee


Harper Charity Cruise returns with classic cars, parties, more

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 20, 2018

 Michael Card, of Eastpointe, right, and Doug Madajczyk, of St. Clair Shores, peek under the hood of a 2014 Dodge Challenger during the 2017 event.

Michael Card, of Eastpointe, right, and Doug Madajczyk, of St. Clair Shores, peek under the hood of a 2014 Dodge Challenger during the 2017 event.

File photo by Sarah Purlee

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Drivers, get ready to rev!

The 2018 Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise rolls into town 5-9 p.m. Aug. 29 along Harper Avenue, from Old Eight Mile Road to Bayside Street.

With 28 open parties and countless private parties that businesses host to thank their year-round customers, the cruise is a great time to check out classic cars and have a fun time in the community, according to organizers.

“We’ve been having a party for probably as long as they’ve been having the cruise,” said Rico Kouri, owner of Rico’s Auto Specialty Shop, 23515 Little Mack Ave.

The shop is located where Little Mack meets Harper Avenue, and the party also includes Certified Motors and Van Used Cars. The business owners offer up musical entertainment, hot dogs, corn on the cob and soft drinks for those dropping by the open party, and request donations for Shorewood Kiwanis in exchange.

“Donate what you can, take what you want, and 100 percent goes to the Kiwanis,” Kouri said. “It brings people out, something to do on a Wednesday night, a lot of cars to see.”

Ray Campise, of Certified Motors, agreed.

“It’s just a good, wholesome time,” he said. “The turnout is tremendous.”

He and his team enjoy the camaraderie they share with customers, friends and visitors, and helping a good cause.

“We’re helping our own town,” Campise said. 

Down at the former Kmart parking lot on Nine Mile Road, Roy O’Brien Ford is hosting a “phenomenal event this year,” according to cruise co-chair Roseanne Minne. With plenty of unique cars on display, a DJ and a contest for the loudest vehicle, “it will be nice for that corner,” she said. 

Shorewood Kiwanis will also have food trucks from Chicken Shack and Rita’s Italian Ice at the corner.

The Get Loud for the Crowd contest is a way for owners to show off their loudest classic cars, said Shorewood Kiwanis President Dr. Carl Papa. Participants must have a muffler to participate.

“I’m going to have my Mustang Bullitt there with the original exhaust, which sounds like the exhaust from the movie ‘Bullitt,’ Papa said. “It’s a Ford anyway, so it will fit right in.”

Co-chairs Karen Biafora and Minne have worked on the cruise together for the past three years. Biafora said that this year’s pre-cruise earnings have surpassed previous records from the past three years.

“We love this project, as it is so much fun and so family friendly that the attendees forget that they are a part of a huge community service effort,” Biafora said in a statement.

The fun will continue up and down Harper Avenue, Minne said, where car enthusiasts gather for what is often the last cruise of the season. The cruise is the only 100 percent charity cruise in the state, and volunteers will be selling cruise T-shirts — which are blue this year and feature a 1957 Chevrolet BelAir on the front — for $15. All proceeds from the sales of shirts and donations go to children’s charities in the community.

“We have five charity partners that help us to sell T-shirts the day of the cruise. They get a certain percent back” for their own charity, and the remainder goes to Shorewood Kiwanis, she explained. “It’s a win-win for both of us.”

The cruise is also a good size for St. Clair Shores, she said. 

“It’s fun. It’s not gigantic and it’s not just a little one. It’s in between. We do draw a good crowd,” Minne said. 

Some volunteers selling T-shirts will also have PayPal available for those who want to donate or purchase a shirt without cash.

“Obviously, it’s a fun day for St. Clair Shores. Everybody who comes out has fun,” Papa said. 

For more information, visit www.harpercruise.org.