A classic car cruises along Harper Avenue south of 11 Mile Road during the 2020 “Unofficial” Harper Cruise.

A classic car cruises along Harper Avenue south of 11 Mile Road during the 2020 “Unofficial” Harper Cruise.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Harper Cruise rolls into town this month

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 9, 2021

 The 2021 Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise is scheduled for Aug. 25. Unique vehicles, classic cars, muscle cars and motorcycles will be cruising the avenue.

The 2021 Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise is scheduled for Aug. 25. Unique vehicles, classic cars, muscle cars and motorcycles will be cruising the avenue.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Some vehicles return for the cruise each year, like this vehicle seen cruising Harper Avenue south of 11 Mile Road in 2020.

Some vehicles return for the cruise each year, like this vehicle seen cruising Harper Avenue south of 11 Mile Road in 2020.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Advertisement

ST. CLAIR SHORES — COVID couldn’t keep the cars away in 2020, but the Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise is ready to officially roll down Harper Avenue in St. Clair Shores on Aug. 25.

Cruise Committee Chair Rosanne Minne said before they decided in March 2020 not to move forward with that year’s event, they had already held a logo contest at Macomb Community College and selected a winning design, so that black and red design of a wheel with a Ford Thunderbird will be used for the 2021 event.

“It was difficult moving forward this year,” Minne said.

The cruise is the only 100% charity cruise around, but that is only possible with sponsorship from local businesses. Minne said asking St. Clair Shores business owners to donate this year was hard, and many delayed making a commitment. A few weeks into June, the event had only garnered half the sponsors it had in 2019.

“We got a different group of people, and I had them make telephone calls to sponsors, follow up with them. We had to really push hard, (but) we got a lot of sponsors,” Minne explained.

The cruise also faced challenges with charities willing to partner with Shorewood Kiwanis to sell T-shirts and collect donations the night of the cruise. The cruise is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 25, and it runs on Harper Avenue in St. Clair Shores from Old Eight Mile Road north to Bayside Street.

Minne said the continuing COVID-19 pandemic made some of their typical charity partners leery of participating. Other smaller organizations had dissolved over the course of the pandemic. Three new organizations are stepping up to sell T-shirts and collect donations: Kids on the Go, Ribbons of Hope and Turning Point.

Organizers are happy the cruise will be nearly “back to normal” for 2021.

“You never know till that day. Hopefully, we’ll have good weather,” Minne said.

During the “unofficial” cruise in 2020, when members of Shorewood Kiwanis saw that classic car enthusiasts were still gathering on Harper Avenue during the previously scheduled day and time of the cruise, “some of us got together and we got our jugs and walked the cruise,” soliciting donations to help fund Shorewood Kiwanis projects throughout the year. The Kiwanis has a number of projects it runs to support the community, including taking children in need shopping in August to get ready for school and donating dictionaries to third-graders in the city.

The corner of 9 Mile Road and Harper Avenue will once again feature vehicles from Roy O’Brien Ford. Minne said they were happy to be able to work with Kroger to secure that parking lot for the dealership’s display. Other businesses along Harper Avenue will host parties for employees, customers and passersby, as well.

“I am happy. I’m breathing a sigh of relief” that it all came together, she said. “It’s a fun, family event. It’s free, and you can be outside.

“I think it’s the biggest event in the city of St. Clair Shores. We do draw a large crowd, particularly if it’s good weather.”

T-shirts to support Kiwanis and the other charities will be sold for $20. Supporters can get shirts in advance by emailing shorewoodcruise2019@aol.com.

“It’s (a) 100% charity cruise,” Minne said. “Nothing we ever do is ever for profit. I’m just hoping for good weather and a good turnout.”

Advertisement