Arby’s cruises gear up for 4th year

SALEM – “If it’s got wheels bring it.”

The fourth year for the Arby’s car cruises will officially begin on May 4, but this Saturday there will be a “test and tune” cruise from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Arby’s is located at 2320 E. State St.

Organizer Gene Johnson said they will set up the audio to get the sound in sync in the parking lot and inside the restaurant.

“We’re trying to work on the sounds from the lot to the lobby,” he said Tuesday.

If anyone is cruising, they’re invited to stop and “hang out and have a little fun out there,” Johnson said, adding that people “are dying to get their cars out.”

The local band Downtown Saturday Night will kickoff the May 4 cruise-in.

Proceeds and non-perishable food donations benefit the Salem Community Food Pantry which last year received 85,000 pounds of food from the cruise.

In 2010, the cruise collected 18,500 pounds and in 2011 it collected 57,000 pounds.

Johnson said they’re shooting for 100,000 pounds this year, “I think we can do it this … we’re definitely progressing,”

Johnson said that new this year is Salem Tire, which sells Goodyear tires, and will donate 50 cents for each tire sold and $1 from each front-end alignment between May 4 and Aug. 30 to the pantry.

Arby’s itself will offer 5-percent off its menu tokens to each cruiser who signs in during each cruise.

The tokens will be good for that night only.

Also special cruise nights will highlight various auto makes while spotlighting rat rods, modern muscle cars, antiques, Mopars, Fords, Chevies and AMC.

On Sept. 7 the cruise will honor the Corvette’s 60th birthday and on Oct. 12, there will be a Halloween costume and car decoration cruise.

Johnson added that live band entertainment by at least three local bands is scheduled througout the cruise season.

Admission is free to the general public and for a donation of $2 or two cans of food people can get a ticket for door prize give-aways. Johnson said about 20 door prizes are given away each Saturday.

Also and up and running is the Arby’s Cruise Facebook page which will alert cruisers to go or no-go situations regarding the weather with red and green lights.

The new Facebook page received a “Thumbs up” from west coast custom motorcycle builder Jesse James.

“He gave us a thumbs-up,” Johnson said adding the power of the social media surprised him.

“Yeah, we’ve been getting a lot of people from all over the country … I never realized social media was this way,” he said, adding the pageOne item scheduled is a wedding.

It will be the first for the Arby’s Car Cruise.

Johnson said, “We’re going to give them a cruiser’s wedding.”

He wasn’t sure what that was, but they were going to get one.

Also, cruise shirts are available only at the cruises and come in four colors and different sizes from $8 for regular sizes to $9 for 2XX sizes.

Larry Shields can be reached at