As social distancing continues, some Fredericktown residents decided to think outside of the box, or outside of the house, to show the community they are all in this together.
Betty Jo Hoover initiated the conversation about having a car cruise through town and like wildfire the idea took off. Soon everyone was interested and there was a plan in place.
Those wanting to participate met at the Fredericktown Country Mart at 6:30 p.m. Friday and drove through town ending at the old IGA parking lot on West Main Street.
"When I was younger, late teens, early twenties, a lot of people my age drove through town on Friday nights listening to music," Hoover said. "We'd stop at The Pig for something to eat, then keep driving."
Hoover said they were bored kids without cellphones or internet, so this was how they were social.
"I have two daughters ages 32 and 26. They would go with me sometimes and they loved it," Hoover said. "I now have an adopted 16-year-old son, and he was really looking forward to it."
Hoover said the two of them blasted 80s music, sang offkey and made the best of the quarantine.
"I think it is very important that everyone stay in their cars," Hoover said. "We both have asthma so we have to be extra cautious."
Jessica Holland was also an important person in promoting the event. She made it clear to everyone there would be no group gatherings and no one was to leave their vehicles.
Just like Hoover, Holland remembers cruising through town as a teenager every Friday night, driving the same path they took during this cruise.
"Everyone would have music playing, and you may occasionally stop and share a 'hello' from across the road," Holland said. "The plan is to not have any close contact and to just enjoy an evening out seeing everyone and still keeping distance."
Holland said they thought it would lighten moods and boost morale.
"I feel like doing something like this that gets us out to see everyone, yet keeps us at a safe distance, will make everyone feel together," Holland said. "Just the planning and discussion about the event has brought people together and stirred up memories of our little town."
Holland said she loves Fredericktown and has spent her entire life there.
"Everyone knows everyone and the majority of our community participated in 'cruising the strip' as teenagers," Holland said. "I know my children were excited to see it and experience what I did as a teenager. They can't fathom not staying home with cellphones or gaming systems. I think it is a great way for the community to show our youth that modern technology isn't a necessity."
Holland said she hopes, as long as the social distancing continues, that this becomes a weekly thing that could be expanded.
The Pig BBQ even joined in on the fun offering everyone who came by and purchased a jumbo Pepsi or any other item on the menu a chance to win a $50 gift card.
Hoover said she thought it was amazing to have The Pig BBQ want to be a part of the car cruise.
"Growing up here wouldn't have been the same without them (The Pig BBQ), and I'm glad they are still here and still relevant," Hoover said. "I'm also glad they still have the triple combination and cheese fries."
Holland said they have been encouraging people on their Facebook posts to visit local establishments such as The Pig BBQ, Dairy Bar and Sonic. She said places like those you can just pull up to and keep a safe distance.
Hoover said the whole thing was very nostalgic for her, and she hopes everyone else was as excited as she was.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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