Elvis is back in the building – well, Linwood, at any rate – this weekend for the eighth annual Cruisin’ with the Stars fundraiser.
Yes, it’s time again to slip on those blue suede shoes, get all shook up and rush on in to the popular car show and concert June 20 at the Linwood Community Centre.
This year, performing tribute artists will include Elvis Presley – several, in fact – Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynnette, John Denver, Rod Stewert, Toby Keith and Patsy Cline.
“I think it’s a beautiful family event,” longtime organizer and Wellesley Township councillor Herb Neher said. “There are always lots of things for kids to do there from bouncy castles, face painting, pony rides, and of course we also have the classic cars and the tribute artists that will be on stage continuously throughout the day.”
Neher helped launch the event back in 2007 as a fundraiser for local clubs and service organizations. Originally called “Kruisin’ with the King,” the show only featured Elvis impersonators, including Neher himself.
In the years since, organizers decided to expand the roster of performers to try to appeal to a wider audience.
“I had heard that the Rod and Gun Club was doing a classic car show and I had been doing a lot of singing all over including Graceland and Nashville, and I thought maybe we could make the event even bigger,” Neher recalled. “They were really interested in the idea, and decided to join up with the Lions Club and we got Kruisin’ with the King going.”
Once they opened up the roster to include more genres of music, things “blossomed,” Neher said, with last year’s event bringing in some 500 patrons and raising over $9,000 for the Linwood fire station, Lions Club, Rod and Gun Club and the local recreation committee.
A strong turnout is weather dependant, of course, and also depends on word of mouth, Neher said.
“It’s all about the weather and the promotion we do, I’ll tell you, if you don’t do that, you could have Justin Bieber out there on stage and you still wouldn’t get 300 people out.”
Cruisin’ with the Stars runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 20 at the Linwood Community Centre, 5279 Ament Line. Cost is $5 for adults and children under 16 get in free. It is a licensed event with a BBQ chicken dinner as well as kids meals of a hot dog, fries and a drink for $6. For more information about the event, visit www.cruisinwiththestars.com.