Jeff Serran, the executive director of North Bay’s Downtown Improvement Area, says a writer with TSN could be considered largely responsible for the growth of Cruisin’ Downtown, the annual car and bike show in the community. Shortly after the event began in 2009, the organizers reached out to TSN’s Jim Kenzie who does a motoring piece on the network. Kenzie was interested and came up for the event and also brought along some special interest vehicles like a Porsche and Maserati. “When we promoted that Jim was coming up, that’s when more people started taking part,” said Serran. “He’s been at every Cruisin’ Downtown except last year when he had a commitment in Europe.” Serran says Kenzie doesn’t charge the DIA anything for his appearance. Also, Kenzie talks about Cruisin’ Downtown in his features and Serran says this works out to a win-win. Serran says the organizers are at the point that they also regularly promote Cruisin’ Downtown in Old Auto Magazine.
One change the event saw early on was the decision to start giving out awards to the vehicle owners. The big one is the Rick Stack Memorial Award in honour of the former president of the North Bay Cruisers. “When he passed away we talked to his wife about putting the award in Jim’s name because he was such a great car enthusiast,” recalled Serran. There are other awards as well. Among the auto awards are recognition for best cruisier, tuner and historical and best sports and best custom for the motorbikes. There’s also a Mayor’s Choice Award for both cars and bikes. The breakdown of vehicles the public can expect to see this Saturday at Cruisin’ Downtown is about 70 percent cars and trucks and about 30 percent motorbikes. Cruisin’ Downtown runs from 10:00am to 4:00pm.