Wayne Patterson modestly pegs the Langley Good Times Cruise-In as one of the top 10 car shows in the North America.
Considering that last year’s show and shine attracted tens of thousands of visitors into downtown Langley and raised $60,453 that was divvied up amongst 14 Langley charities, it’s likely hovering in the top-five stratosphere.
Patterson takes the wheel as Cruise-In president from Eric Taylor, who took on the role in 2013 and ’14.
Patterson’s challenge: what do you do for an encore after last year’s hugely successful event?
The 18th edition of Cruise-In is slated for Saturday, Sept. 12, and will see Langley City streets such as Fraser Highway, Douglas Crescent, and 56th Avenue closed to traffic as hot rods and vintage and souped up cars, trucks, and motorcycles parked for the day.
“There seems to be a trend where car shows are getting smaller, but we seem to be holding our own, or getting larger, because we add new things for people to see every year,” Patterson said. “We actually have people come from Europe to see the car show. They make it their annual holiday trip to see it.”
A new element this year has the Langley City Fire Department selling raffle tickets, at $2 each, for anyone wanting to take a trip up the department’s aerial ladder for a bird’s eye view of the Cruise-In.
Another new feature is the Rokstad Power Custom Car Showcase beside the Langley Public Health Unit building near Cascades Casino. The showcase features very high end and unique cars, highlighted by a 1964 Buick Riviera custom (a.k.a. “Revision”), which was the winner of the prestigious 2014 Ridler Award, and is owned by J.F. Launier from Osoyoos.
In total, 21 cars will be on display at the showcase.
Muscle car connoisseur
Patterson is a veteran of Cruise-In, having served as a director for the past four years. He’s also been involved in the show and shine for eight years in different volunteer capacities ranging from set-up to security to organizing port-a-potties and garbage cans.
Closely involved in the community, Patterson is a member of the Langley Sunrise Rotary Club, and he’s also a muscle car connoisseur
He’s the owner of a 1977 Trans Am, a ’71 Big Block Nova, a ’72 Challenger, and a late model stock car.
“I grew up in the muscle car era,” the 47-year-old father of two grown children said.
Patterson’s first car was a 1970 Dodge Challenger that his dad was putting together. Patterson bought a 440ci engine and transmission which he put it in the car, and with the help of friends, managed to get it fired up one day.
“My dad came home and heard it running and that was it,” Patterson said. “He basically never figured I’d get it going. He didn’t let me drive it once I got the 440 [ci engine] for it. Once I got I sold it from there.”
The first car he ever drove was a 1971 Dodge Dart. Patterson said the car got “t-boned” leaving Langley Secondary and ICBC wrote it off.
“After that my dad said enough Dodges and bought me the big Chevelle,” Patterson said.
Patterson’s third car, a 1967 Chevelle SS 396, he drove from his late 20s into his early 30s.
A longtime volunteer and director with Cruise-In, Patterson was asked to take the helm this year.
When Taylor stepped aside as president, the Cruise-In committee decided it needed a different voice, a different aspect on the car show.
“They figured I would be a good fit, and that I take over for the next couple of years,” Patterson related.
While every role with Cruise-In is volunteer, including president, the number of hours and amount of responsibility associated with it can seem daunting.
The glue of the committee, in Patterson’s opinion, is treasurer Lori Watts. “She’s been the backbone. She keeps us all on track and makes sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing She has ‘honey do’ lists for us all.”
Following a wrap-up meeting in December, where directors resign and get voted back onto the board, monthly meetings begin in January and the focus on the fundraiser intensifies, especially in the weeks and months leading up to the big day.
“The last month is pretty much crazy,” Patterson said. “I get emails all night long and all day long.”
Patterson is ready for a long Saturday that he figures will start at 4:30 in the morning, and wrap up between 7 and 9 o’clock at night.
It’s because of the charities that benefit greatly from the funds generated from registration fees and other events during the day that Patterson is willing to put in all that time and effort.
Recipients of most funds raised through this year’s event are: Langley Community Support Service; Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association; Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary; PuCKS; Boys & Girls Club; Douglas Park Elementary Association; and the Legacy Water Search.
“The biggest thing is the charities and also the volunteers,” Patterson said. “We get in excess of 200 volunteers to put this on, who donated their time. It’s amazing how much the community steps up to support our charities.”
Looking ahead to Saturday, Patterson said he really doesn’t have time to get nervous.
“I have to make sure all i’s are dotted t’s are crossed and make sure we don’t leave anything out,” he said.
The Cruise-In is part of a hectic September for Patterson, whose daughter Lisa is getting married the weekend after the show and shine.