Fourth wintertime cruise scheduled Jan. 11

SALEM – A “Cure for the Wintertime Cruisin’ Blues” is set for the American Legion hall in Sebring from 5 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 11.

It will be held by the Salem Arby’s cruise organizers. This is the fourth wintertime cruise. The Sebring American Legion hall is located at 395 W. California Ave.

Fundraising activities will be conducted. The beneficiary will be announced the night of the cruise.

The Arby’s weekly Saturday evening cruise-ins raise money and collects non-perishable food donations for the Salem Community Food Pantry.

In 2013, the Arby’s cruises raised 100,000 pounds of food, a goal that far exceeded the 2012 total of 86,000 lbs.

In 2011, the cruise collected 57,000 pounds and during its first year it collected 18,500 lbs.

Also during the 2013 cruise season, organizer Gene Johnson said, “We made it to the fifth position in top 10 in the 126 to 275 car cruise category of Cruisin’ Times Magazine.”

Cruisin’ Times Magazine is the largest cruising magazine in the midwest. This will be the fourth year for the Arby’s car cruises which is expected to officially begin in May.

For the wintertime cruise, guests can bring a picture of a car and display it for a chance to win a trophy.

There will be a 50/50 drawing and door prizes for people who register a car photo or who donate. Special baskets will be auctioned and the music venue will include oldies.

Also next Saturday, Jan. 4, the cruise will hold its first meeting at 5 p.m. at the Salem Arby’s to lay out plans and goals for the 2014 cruising season. Arby’s is located at 2320 E. State St.

The annual theme for the cruises is, “If it’s got wheels bring it” and anyone, even if they don’t cruise or have a car, is invited to stop and “hang out and have a little fun out there,” Johnson said. “We are also going to do two road cruises this summer with three stops on each cruise.,”

Last year, Salem Tire Service, which sells Goodyear tires and Arby’s donated to the pantry while the cruise held special nights highlighting various auto makes and putting the spotlighting on categories of cars like rat rods, modern muscle cars and antiques along with honoring the 60th birthday of the Corvette. Certain cruise nights featured live band entertainment throughout the season.

Admission to the cruises is free to the general public. For a donation of $2 or two cans of food people can get a ticket for door prize giveaways. About 20 door prizes are given away each Saturday.

The Arby’s Cruise Facebook page alerts cruisers to go or no-go situations regarding the weather with red and green lights. The Facebook page, which was started in March of 2013, has 2,875 “friends” and 62 “followers” and received a “thumbs up” from west coast custom motorcycle builder Jesse James.