If you own a classic car and live in the Chicago suburbs, there’s a good chance you found yourself parked at the Arboretum of South Barrington on Wednesday nights last summer. It was just the first season for the shopping center’s cruise night but it quickly found favor with owners and enthusiasts who enjoyed the tranquil setting, live music and many restaurants within walking distance.
As spring rolls around again here in the Midwest we wanted to find out more about how this popular event got started and what they have in store for 2012. We got in touch with Allison Krupp, the Director of Marketing for the Arboretum, who gave us a special inside look.
How did the cruise get started?
“Last year we were approached by a local resident named Don Borg. Don is an avid vintage car collector and exhibitor. He suggested that we begin a Cruise Night here at the center. One of the core missions of The Arboretum of South Barrington is to provide local residents and communities, Americana events for families that bring a feeling of neighborhood and community. The Cruise Night was the perfect addition to these events.”
“Cruise Nights are supported and sponsored by the Arboretum’s tenant partners. The events that drew the most attendees were those sponsored by Ruth’s Chris, Potbelly and Georgio’s. The restaurants support the event by giving the first 50 car owners free dinners and by providing guests drink and food specials. The largest events drew on average 4,000 people and about 200 cars.”
How many cars came out on average?
“On average 150-200 cars. The busiest nights hosted in excess of 250 vehicles.”
“The live music seemed a natural to add to the experience of Cruise night at The Arboretum. The band performed by the fountain and they added a level of energy to car owners and visitors alike. People would come with lawn chairs and watch the band and enjoy the vintage vehicles. Yes we will definitely include like music and will also add children’s performers and fashion shows for the ladies. Potbelly will also provide additional live entertainment by their store.”
How many staff/volunteers does it take to put on the cruise each week?
“3 Arboretum staff members and 4 police explorers and a police supervisor.”
“2012 will bring additional entertainment and programing. I have extended the classics car display parking to over by Ruth’s Chris and Potbelly, Coopers Hawk and Georgio’s so that the restaurants can serve visitors and car owners from their patio’s and cook out. In 2012 the Arboretum will take Cruise Night to a totally different level….”
Best time to arrive at the cruise?
“Our “regulars” classic car owners begin arriving at 4:00pm to get their preferred parking spots by the fountain in the plaza. The entrance for classic car owners is on Bartlett Road. Car owners will be met by security personnel who direct them down main street to additional personnel and reserved parking. Visitors and guests can park anywhere in the numerous parking allotted at the Arboretum.”
Do you own a classic? What is your favorite car to see at the cruise?
“No I wish I owned a classic…if I did it would be a GTO! I am partial to pick ups and most of all vintage Corvettes.”
Anything new and/or different for ’12?
“You have to come and see!!”
“We are taking the ladies into account here and will provide a fashion focus for their pleasure. We are also interested in hearing from different entertainment groups who might want to perform at the center on cruise nights.”
**Cruise nights return to the Arboretum of South Barrington on May 30, 2012. Check our Event Calender for updates.
**Krupp informed us official shows are on the way with the first being held on April 29th, 2012.