Plenty to Do at Glendale Cruise Night

Photos by Isiah REYES and Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Photos by Isiah REYES and Robin GOLDSWORTHY

By Isiah REYES

Visitors of all ages enjoyed the display of about 285 classic pre-1979 cars on Brand Boulevard during the 21st Annual Glendale Cruise Night on July 19.

The free event is one of Southern California’s most popular car shows, this year attracting an estimated 50,000 visitors. Select sponsors of the event each awarded one car as the best car on display. All the winners were awarded trophies at the main stage located at the north end of Brand Boulevard. Glendale Police Chief Robert Castro was one of the presenters.

“Tonight we celebrate everything that is great about this community,” Castro said. “We take pride in looking back at history and have many fond memories [surrounding] some of these great cars.”

Some of the winning cars included a 1936 Seagrave Silverback, a 1968 black Dodge Charger, a 1965 Backdraft Cobra, a 1958 Jaguar XK-150, and a 1965 Pontiac GTO, among others.

Jesse Mesa, the owner of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, said he likes the event because it brings everyone together.

“I like it, I think it’s a great event,” Mesa said. “It’s very family-oriented and you get all walks of life here.”

Live entertainment was performed at the main stage hosted by former K-Earth 101 DJ Brian Beirne, also known as Mr. Rock N’ Roll. The two music acts for the night included Beatles tribute band Abbey Road – dressed in Beatles attire complete with matching bowl cuts – and The Kingsmen, which got people up and dancing with “Twist and Shout” and their (now 50-year-old) classic hit “Louie Louie.”

Aside from cars and music, there were also display booths and activities for children.

One of the visitors at the event was Giovanni Garcia, who was out enjoying the sights and sounds of the Cruise Night with his family.

“The show is great because we’re able to get together and look at nice cars,” Garcia said. “I’m here every year to look at Fords.”
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For the first time in its 21 years, the event ended with a fireworks display that shot up from behind the main stage.

\Some of the sponsors of the show included the Downtown Glendale Association, K-Earth 101 and Glendale Water and Power. The event is hosted by the City of Glendale in conjunction with the Downtown Glendale Association and presented by the Brand Boulevard of Cars.

Lighting Up the Night

In addition to amazing cars, great food and music, this year’s Cruise Night along Brand Boulevard featured something new – fireworks.

The display was presented by Pyro Spectaculars. Skip Deckard oversaw the show.

Deckard said he has been doing fireworks for over 30 years, with his first show at a homecoming event at his high school. Back in the day he wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps as a fire inspector for the City of Monrovia. He actually completed all the requirements, but it was pyrotechnics that “sparked” his interest.

Over the last 30 years, Deckard has seen many changes in the industry – some welcome, some not.

“[Lawmakers] don’t understand the product,” Deckard said, “the construction of it.”

But he acknowledges that it is a dangerous industry.

“We have a very good safety [record],” he said. “But I know of probably four really bad catastrophic events over the last 30 years.”

One of the events resulted in the death of a crewmember about 12 years ago. After investigating, it was discovered that a cause of the accident was a new way to detonate the firework that attempted to use more air rather than black powder in the shell.

The requirements of becoming a pyrotechnician have also changed over the years.

“Rules to be a pyro are also tougher, especially since 9/11,” Deckard said. “Bigger shells (12-inch) aren’t allowed any more by the Dept. of Transportation.”

Though Saturday’s show was highly anticipated, it didn’t compare to the biggest one he’s done: the “Red White & Boom” in Columbus, Ohio on the Columbus River.

“The show was 25-30 minutes,” Deckard recalled. He added that the play of the fireworks on the water was beautiful. “The ‘boom’ was fantastic.”

The boom was not a concern on Brand Boulevard. Deckard did a “close proximity show” similar to what audiences might see at the Hollywood Bowl, which doesn’t include the loud boom found at other, larger shows.

That didn’t mean that there weren’t other concerns, though.

“Hopefully, the wind and curvature of the street will allow for a good show,” he said, adding that being so close to the buildings would “test his abilities.”

But he was as excited as the audience to see how it would all turn out.

“The look of it is going to be awesome,” he said “I’m getting goose bumps.”


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