Organizers hopeful COVID-19 doesn’t stall Super Cruise

Plans under way for popular event scheduled June 10-13

Shown are vintage vehicles displayed at a previous Salem Super Cruise. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

SALEM — For the city of Salem and Gene Johnson and the cruisers, the Salem Super Cruise is inked into the calendar for June 10-13, dependent of course on COVID-19.

“We’re at the mercy of the governor. Whatever he says goes, but we’re hopeful,” city Service/Safety Director Joe Cappuzzello said.

Cappuzzello attended his first meeting of Salem Super Cruise planners and learned that many of the staples of the event are already committed and in place, such as the garden tractor pull on Saturday, the Show & Shine on Sunday and the WKBN Car Care Show, the hula hoop contest and valve cover racing (this year on Sunday).

Cappuzzello said if the situation with COVID-19 gets better, the plan is to do the Salem Super Cruise. He said they’ll evaluate the situation in March, but he made some calls to places like Hermitage and Sharon, both in Pennsylvania, where large car show events are held and right now they’re planning on doing their shows. He said their governor is even more strict than Ohio’s.

“You guys have a great thing here,” he said.

With the cruise canceled last year due to the pandemic, they got a head start on the T-shirts for this year. Beginning Feb. 1, they’ll be available for purchase at NAPA in Salem for $10 each. Johnson explained to Cappuzzello that the shirts are already paid for and whatever is raised will go to charities, such as the Salem Band Boosters, who have already pledged to provide volunteers, along with the various food pantries in the area.

Cappuzzello asked a lot of questions about how the Salem Super Cruise operates and about who does what.

Johnson explained how money raised from T-shirt sales, the $500 beef raffle from Morris Farms and a percentage of the ad sales go to the food pantries, which will be joined by the Salem Band Boosters this year. The band boosters were supposed to be part of the canceled cruise last year. All those groups provide volunteers who help with the parking of cars, selling of raffle tickets and T-shirts, and other duties.

“You couldn’t have the cruise without the volunteers,” Johnson said.

In a review of some of the Salem Super Cruise activities planned, besides the ones already mentioned, he said the Salem Eagles will host bike nights from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a bike show from 4 to 7 p.m. Classic cars can go there, too, to hang out, with the Salem Eagles handling everything.

The vendor show will continue on South Broadway on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at a cost of $75 a spot. The last show in 2019 attracted 28 to 30 participants.

Johnson said he put in a request for the Idaho potato truck, which was a big hit in 2019, but he doesn’t know yet if that will happen, dependent on COVID-19.

Tom Hall, who handles the Facebook page for the cruise, said his whole focus is to make the cruise enjoyable for the car owners and the people who come to see them.

Mick Orosz, who handles the food concessions, said he’s holding off on sending out the contracts for now, but indicated the food concessionaires are anxious to get back.

Bill and Jim Greenamyer also attended the meeting and Jim announced “our plan has not changed.”

They and other family members have been working on restoring the 14-foot tall Frostop mug that sat atop the former Salem restaurant for many years. Last year they had planned to unveil the mug at the cruise and have it on display, but the cruise was cancelled and there’s still work to be done on the project.

“Hopefully we’ll have it done in time,” Jim said.

Letters were being sent to ad patrons of the cruise booklet to see if they’ll be sponsors again. Cappuzzello said he’ll be reaching out to the bands from the last cruise to see if they want to play this year.

The group will have a meeting again at 6 p.m. Feb. 17. Attendance is limited due to social distancing requirements.



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