The Dixieland Cruisers took over the parking lot in front of 2 Fiddlers Crafts and Mexico City, giving the afternoon a hint of “American Graffiti,” the George Lucas classic.
“We have a good time. We’ve got everything from original restored to street rods to really strange stuff,” said Don Lockhardt, president of the Dixieland Cruisers. “Most of these cars have been built by the guys that are driving them.”
He pointed toward a midnight blue vehicle that looked part sedan, park truck and part streamliner.
“That’s a ‘49 Oldsmobile Ute from Australia. That’s a pickup truck, and that’s all factory original,” said Lockhardt.
The Dixieland Cruisers are a local group that enjoy buying, building, restoring and most of all cruising in old cars. They utilize this common interest to raise money for local charities. Last year, they raised more than $16,000 for charities by hosting car shows and selling raffle tickets.
“We’re a bunch of old guys that just enjoy each other’s company and cruising. Beats working. And we raise money for charities, that’s the main thing,” Lockhardt said.
They’ve donated to the Staffordshire Equestrian Center, the Sheriff’s home for boys and Candler Hospital. Lockhardt said they do a lot locally for breast cancer and try to give them about $2,000 a year. But that afternoon there was no judging, tickets or hamburgers — they were just out there to help attract customers to the new 2 Fiddlers Crafts store. There were even a couple of Pink Ladies out to help.
B.J. Gordon was one of the Pink Ladies out that day in her purple poodle skirt, black and white saddle oxfords and Pink Ladies jacket, which accented her blush pink 1967 Ford Mustang.
“Oh it drives great. I love my Mustang, except, well, it could use some power steering. (But it’s) vinyl top, factory color, all original, has less than 100,000 miles on it. I’m going to cry when it turns over though,” she said.
The next big thing for the Cruisers is their 22nd Annual Open Car Show in April.
“It’s going to be at Providence Church out there behind the mall, basically behind Target. If it happens to be a bad weekend — rainy or whatever — we’ll move across the street behind Target on that parking lot. It’ll be a rain or shine show. Live entertainment, Elvis is going to show up and the Pink Ladies and all that, said Eddy Brown, who coordinates all the events for the Dixieland Cruisers.
“We had about 327 cars last year... We’re hoping that we’ll be able to give a lot more money, that it’ll bring more people in, they’ll buy a hamburger, just have a good time — there’s plenty of nice cars — so that we’ll be able to give more than $13,000.”