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 The 2018 Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise lights up the night.

The 2018 Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise lights up the night.

Photo by Patricia O'blends

Harper Cruise crowd enjoys cool cars, supports charities 

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 30, 2018

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — "It started as an ’89 Silverado.”

Robert Phillips then “body dropped” the black truck, put a 2005 Cadillac Escalade front end on it, a 1964 Impala dash and suicide doors.

The Warren resident said he put two years into making the truck his own, took it to Autorama, and “now I’m just going to drive it.”

It’s vehicles and stories like Phillips’ that keep the crowds coming back, year after year, to the Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise.

Auto enthusiasts looking to spot their dream cars, grown-ups trying to relive their youth, and kids awed by vehicles with no doors or horns on their front ends all seem to enjoy the cruise. And even with the threat of rain hanging around till afternoon, this year’s cruise didn’t disappoint its fans Aug. 29.

“We’ve been coming out here at least 20 years,” said Randy Mareel, of St. Clair Shores. “The people, the cars, the traffic. More or less, (it’s a good) people watching, car watching atmosphere.”

While cars are front and center down Harper Avenue, charities benefit from the cruise, and volunteers said they appreciate Shorewood Kiwanis giving them the opportunity.

“I have been one of the original volunteers, way before the Shorewood Kiwanis took over,” said Emma Warren, who was volunteering at the cruise with CARE of Southeastern Michigan. “It’s a fun evening. It’s usually really great.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to get our name out there and earn some money for our organization,” agreed Liz Arndt, another volunteer with CARE.

Cruise co-chair Rosanne Minne said that visitors and cruisers were really stepping up to help Shorewood Kiwanis raise money for charity.

“We’re having a great day. We’re selling out of T-shirts at Nine (Mile) and Harper,” she said. “I’m just so happy that the weather held and all the cars are here and our T-shirts are selling like hotcakes.”

Soliciting donations along the cruise route, City Councilwoman Candice Rusie agreed.

“This is a great event. The community really comes together,” she said. “People are always super generous. That’s what separates our cruise from the others, (that it’s) all for charities.”

Businesses along Harper Avenue also take part in the cruise, sponsoring parties, the cruise or opening their doors for clients.

“It’s just fun to have all the people out here,” said Jeremy Larkins, of St. Clair Shores, with Real Estate One. “I’m kind of a car head anyway, so seeing all the variations (of) ... cars I’ve dreamed of owning go by, it lets me dream a little bit.”

Randy Haselhuhn, of St. Clair Shores, was sitting with his black convertible 1978 MGB. He just sold a nice Volkswagen, he said, and explained that he was trying to get all the cars he’s ever wanted “out of my system before I go.”

“It’s just a great cruise,” he added. “I’ve been in cars 40 years, all over the USA. This cruise is an intimate cruise. It’s one of my favorite cruises.”