The Bassett Highway 57 Cruise-In is in its fourth season of bringing cars of all makes and models, and people who appreciate them, into Bassett.
The cruise-ins are held from 4-8 p.m. in downtown Bassett. Admission is free to the public.
On the first cruise-in of the season on May 18, there were 403 cars registered. That was a record turnout, according to Tim Stone, sponsor representative on the cruise-in committee of GBAC (Greater Bassett Area Community Inc.), which organizes the series.
“All makes and models (of cars) are welcome. There is no judging, no competition. It’s a social event” that is held to bring people into Bassett,” he said.
“The cruise-ins started as a result of the Smith River Small Towns collaborative effort that is under way to revive Bassett, Fieldale, Stanleytown and Koehler,” Stone said. “This venture was to bring people to our area to see what’s being done and hopefully transform it,” he added.
According to the cruise-in website, the series’ purpose is “to create, manage and sustain annual events that will promote the Bassett community and Henry County while providing a safe family environment which appeals to car enthusiasts all ages.”
To do that, cars of all types will line the roads and parking areas in Bassett six times this summer. Bassett Funeral Service is the title sponsor for the series, and each cruise-in has a nightly sponsor that sets the tone for that night.
The may 18 cruise-in was sponsored by B99.9, which did a live remote broadcast from the event.
The remaining schedule and themes, according to Stone, are:
• June 15, GBAC Night, highlighting features of the Bassett community.
• July 20, sponsored by Southlake Motorsports and Marine, which may bring boats, pontoons, jet skis and other equipment.
• Aug. 17, Moonshine Heritage Night sponsored by Dry Fork Fruit Distillery of Danville.
• Sept. 21, sponsored by Bryant Radio, which likely will feature its auto radios and other lines.
• Oct. 19, Race Night, sponsored by Papa’s Pizzeria Italian Restaurant and featuring old cars and drivers. “Last year that went over really well with racing people and spectators,” Stone added.
The number of cars at each cruise-in depends on the weather, he said. If the forecast is good, the events will draw 300 to 500 cars, he said, adding that there generally are 30 to 40 new cars at each cruise-in.
“They cars come from all over,” he said, mentioning New York, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee.
Cars are registered when they arrive and become eligible for $100 door prizes given out at each cruise-in, Stone said. The funds for those prizes are contributed by 15 sponsors.
“All the money raised is used to promote” the cruise-in and provide the food court, DJ, security and other aspects,” he said.
Because there are no tickets or signups, it is harder to determine where spectators come from, Stone said. He added that he suspects most are from surrounding counties in Virginia and North Carolina.
Each cruise-in also features a food court, door prizes, 50-50 drawing and music. No pets, tents or burnouts are permitted.
The cruise-ins are organized by a committee of about 12 people and manned entirely by volunteers, Stone said.
The series is part of the Greater Bassett Area Community organization. Other activities and events planned by that group this year are:
• Rhythms by the River, 5:30-8 p.m. at the Bassett Historical Center along the Smith River. The events will be held June 22 with Real Jazz, July 27 with a band to be announced, Aug. 24 with Virginia 6 and Sept. 29 with the Jamie Woodall Trio.
• Greater Bassett Family Fun Floats with Smith River Outfitters, Bassett, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 29, July 27 and Sept. 7.
• Greater Bassett Community Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays through October at a location to be announced.
• Greater Bassett’s tree lighting and Christmas bazaar.
For more information on the cruise-ins and other GBAC events, go to www.bassettcruisein.com.