Arby’s Cruise to partner with city on Super Cruise

ALEM – The Arby’s Cruise will partner with city in running the 9th annual Salem Super Cruise this June.

City officials, led by Mayor John Berlin and Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst, met with Arby’s Cruise organizers Gene Johnson and Tom Hall finalizing the agreement Tuesday afternoon.

Police Chief J.T. Panezott and Mike Bibbee, the city electrician, also attended the meeting.

The Super Cruise will run from June 19 through June 22 and the goal is still to “make sure people who do come here have a good time,” Kenst said last week.

The city will manage the overall event and the Arby’s Cruise group will handle the cruise and help with show car parking.

The weekly Saturday night Arby’s cruises are a supporter of the Salem Community Food Pantry.

Berlin contacted Johnson, in a phone call that was facilitated by Sam Sicilia, and asked him about partnering on Salem’s biggest event and they met twice.

The Super Cruise, which has run in the black, has been managed by the city for the last five years.

During the last Super Cruise organizational meeting, Kenst said he needed volunteers and Johnson said on Tuesday night that shouldn’t be a problem.

“We’re just going to be doing the cruise,” Johnson said, “extending it from Arby’s” and added that Arby’s will also be the kick-off point for the 2014 cruise.

The city will continue to manage vendors, handle advertising, the brochure, safety, daily cleanups and collect license fees that will be used to defer city overtime.

Johnson explained after being asked by Berlin if the group was interested in running the event he brought it up to the Arby’s Cruise group.

About 30 members met on Saturday and agreed to partner with the city “provided we could figure out some way the help the food pantry,” Johnson said, adding the mayor agreed.

Berlin said with the need for volunteers and the charity give-back, “This is just the perfect way to help a local charity.”

Johnson said, “The mayor has given us a door to raise more money for the food pantry,” explaining the city will allow the Arby’s Cruise sell T-shirts and hats and run the Sunday Show ‘N Shine.

The city raised almost $2,000 through those sales in the past.

“It will go to the food pantry,” Johnson said, “which is 100 percent” behind the new structure.

Berlin said the Arby’s Cruise group will provide volunteers to manage traffic flow in and out of show car areas and at all the venues.

Johnson said parade has been canceled owing to the fact the cruising cars “are the parade” and there will be some streets blocked off in the central downtown area.

Johnson, with strong backing from a large group of volunteers, has guided the Arby’s Cruise to one of the top-ranked cruises in the northeast Ohio. Its has almost 3,000 friends on Facebook.

Last month, Kenst told a crowd of 20 people at this year’s first Super Cruise organizational meeting that they expect to make better usage of East Second St. parking lot, South Broadway Ave. and were looking at the Reilly School practice lot for added parking.

The next Super Cruise meeting will be at 7 p.m., Feb. 19 in city hall and is open to the public.