Mark McAlpine

Irish Hills Region Cruise-In - Tuesday, 13 Aug 2019

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While visiting family in Michigan, my wife Marion and I stopped by the monthly cruise-in hosted by the Irish Hills Region in Temperance, MI, on Tuesday, 13 August 2019.  What a great event!  Even though the Irish Hills Region is a small region, they did a great job hosting the cruise-in and we came away with some neat ideas for what our region and other regions/chapters could do to make our shows or cruise-ins more fun.


First, the Irish Hills Region President Scott Pickard, his wife Lisa, and his son Cody are really nice people and definitely dedicated antique car enthusiasts and AACA supporters.  They brought their camper (and two Mustangs) out to the cruise-in and set up an AACA membership display, raffle tickets for multiple gift baskets, fan belt toss (more on this later), and a video playing in the background highlighting the fun things the region does and that you can do while attending AACA national events.  Their niece was also there helping out enthusiastically.


Rain earlier in the day limited attendance to a little over 30 cars (it's usually over 80), but everyone we spoke with was having a great time.  Scott introduced us to a number of the region's members, and we enjoyed speaking with them and seeing their cars.  The cruise-in was held on the premises of a local bowling alley & outdoor sand volley ball facility.  (The bowling alley has a huge grass field in addition to its large parking lot.)  The owner of the facility is very supportive of the region and its monthly cruise-in, including having a special discounted menu for car show participants and delivering food & beverages to them by golf cart.  (Great burgers and salads!)


Here's few of the great ideas we saw at the cruise-in that I think other region's could employ:

- Door prize drawing for a free 1-year AACA & regional membership.  (Scott used one of his region's free memberships.)

- Each gift basket included a copy of the Antique Automobile magazine and an AACA membership application.

- "Fan belt toss" (like a ring toss game) where cruise-in participants and attendees tried to toss a fan belt over a variety of inexpensive but nice to have car-related items (e.g., cans of brake cleaner, rust remover, cleaning products, etc.).  Participants received a free ticket for three tries at tossing the fan belt, and spectators could buy three tickets for $1.

- Video running on a TV (mounted on the side of the RV, but it could be set on a table just as easily) showing photos from the region's past activities, plus from past AACA Nationals (not just from the show, but also from activities associated with past shows such as visits to car collections, car museums, historical sites, etc.).

- Raffle ticket drum made out of Ford Mustang hubcaps, chicken wire, and some 1/4" steel supports cut to look like jack stands.

- AACA membership display with regular AACA membership applications, Military Sponsorship Program free 1-year membership applications, and copies of Antique Automobile magazine.


The efforts of the Pickard family and the Irish Hills Region show that small regions/chapters can have fun and attract new members--it just takes a little work and a lot of enthusiasm.











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That's a great area and it sounds like the folks there are headed the right direction and having a load of fun doing it.  We need some strong AACA Regions there.  As my home-state I can remember all the great old car activity there and wish I could visit more often to be a part of it.  I don't think there is much happening in my home town, Battle Creek, although there is strong interest in Model T's in that part of the state.   So many great cars and old collections up there.


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We have a delightful group, every one is invited to attend and join us.

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We love having this cruise-in and meeting other people that have interest in old cars just like we do.  We are trying new things to get more people interested in our hobby.  We thoroughly enjoyed having Mark and Marion McAlpine come to our event.  We have learned so much about having these events in the past 2 years.  We welcome any new ideas to make our event even more special.

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