For a lot of people who grew up in and around Park Hills in years past, cruising the downtown strip was a staple of Friday and Saturday nights. While West Main Street isn’t the bustling weekend social spot it once was, the Park Hills Senior Center plans to bring cruising back for one night this fall with a new fundraiser.
“Cruising for a Cause” is planned for Sept. 15, the day after the Central School District’s homecoming. Senior Center Director Holly Buxton said she hopes those who come to town for the parade and football game will stay around for the next day’s festivities and nod to the past.
“I had often thought that I would like to do something to promote our downtown,” Buxton said. “I love Park Hills and I want to see it thrive. I was doing an interview with Jason Loughary (of B104.3 FM) and he said, ‘You need to do something with cruising — bring cruising back for a night!’ I just kind of thought 'I’m going to run with this.' So Jason gets the credit for that.”
Buxton hopes to include a day of festivities on Sept. 15 including vendors, a dog show, informational booths, face painting, a car show, a talent show, a barbecue contest and possibly more. The downtown area is planned to be shut down during the day for the event and will open up that night for cruisers to “scoop the loop” for a good cause.
“In my day, cruising was huge,” Buxton said. “Every Friday and Saturday night we knew what we were going to do. It was good, clean, healthy fun. Some people say that it was juvenile delinquents — but it wasn’t. It was a good time and you met a lot of people from different towns, because Park Hills was where it was at. We had the best cruising around.”
The event, still in its initial planning stage, will benefit the Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels program, which Buxton said has continued to grow.
“At the Park Hills Senior Center we deliver about 240 meals a day now,” she said. “So we’re having to do a couple of big fundraisers each year to kind of help with the cost of food and the added clients that we have.”
She hopes residents will get involved in the planning.
“I really want the business owners to be a part of this, too,” she said. “This is their town. This is where they brought their business to get things rolling. I want them to be a part also. I’m hoping that everybody can come up with something and tie the theme into it and get people coming in.”
Buxton said she is still looking for vendors, barbecue contestants, talent show contestants, volunteers and more. Those interested can call the senior center at 573-431-4974, though Buxton said a Facebook event page will be set up with more information about signing up for the various activities.
In addition to funding a crucial community service and providing a glimpse into times gone by, Buxton said she hopes businesses will take advantage of the opportunity to get some exposure in the community at large and promote all that Park Hills has to offer.
“I want them all to be able to promote their business and get the word out that Park Hills is growing and on its way back to where we used to be,” she said.