Arby’s Cruise kicking into gear to aid pantry

SALEM – The Arby’s Cruise will host a “Rat Rod Old School” night on Aug. 10, according to cruise organizer Gene Johnson. While there are prior scheduled events, are keying to Sept. 7 when the Corvette will be celebrated during “The 60th Year of the Corvette” cruise.

Johnson said that one will be “huge” – possibly bigger than anything since the Arby’s cruises started. “Corvette,” he said, “that’s going to be bigger … we’re looking to load up on that for the Corvette’s anniversary.”

The Arby’s cruise can use a couple of big nights because after one complete and five partial rainouts this year, Johnson said he is concerned the 100,000 lbs. goal they set before the season might fall short.

The Arby’s Cruises benefit the Salem Community Food Pantry and entry fee is $2 or two cans of food.

Through Aug. 3 the Arby’s cruise has collected 53,316 pounds of donated food which is more than halfway to the 100,000 season goal, Johnson said.

“It’s going to be close,” he said, adding they should be able to top last year when the cruises donated 87,000 lbs to the food pantry.

“If we don’t get rained out anymore we should be OK,” he said, adding he had recalibrated the goal to about 90,000 lbs.

But a big night for the 60th anniversary of the Corvette will take some of the pressure off.

The cruises feature 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s era music, 50/50 drawings and other games.

The night of Aug. 17 will feature a street rod night and will be filmed by a crew from the television show “Street Scene.” A hula contest will be held on Aug 24 and Aug 31 will feature model car night with entries judged. The model car contest will run from 5 to 7 p.m., according to organizer Sam Sicilia who is organizing it.

On Aug. 31 there will be a judged model car night open to the public for people who build a model car s or trucks for display of any scale.

Judging will be done by the Arby’s crew and there are three classes. Awards will be made to the top three in three age groups including all youth ages to 10 years old; a junior class for kids 11 to 15 years old; and a senior class for 16 years old to “you’re how old?”

There will also be a Chinese auction.

Sept. 14 will be a rainout make-up night. Sept. 28 will be the Arby’s Cruise end-of-the- year show before one final blast on Oct. 12 with a Halloween costume and car decoration cruise.

Johnson said they have been featuring two cars each week – a street rod and an all-original car.

“We’ve been getting some real nice cars to come out,” he said adding they’ve been averaging about 100 cars each night.

The Arby’s Car Cruise has a significant presence and has built a large friend base on Facebook. The Facebook page was formed in February and today it has nearly 2,500 friends and is routinely followed by 62 people. Famed west coast custom chopper builder Jesse James is a friend of the cruise along with Detroit Dragway.

The cruise is also keying on a Halloween costume and car decoration cruise that is scheduled for Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. “We’re trying to get the word out about that,” Johnson said.

Visit the Arby’s Car Cruise page at