The annual Cruisin’ for a Cause event returns to Downtown Park Hills for the fifth time on Saturday. This year’s cruise added a Haunted Park & Hayride through Columbia Park.
Cruisin’ for a Cause benefits the Park Hills Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels program, which provides meals to hundreds of seniors in the area.
Park Hills Senior Center director Holly Buxton said this year has been exceptionally difficult financially for the food program as food and packaging costs have increased. She said the program delivers about 300 meals a day at a cost of about $5,000 a week. Buxton mentioned that they spend $1,200 a month just to buy milk.
“I don’t think people realize that we eat that many meals here,” Buxton said. “So we hope everyone will be very generous. And I know everyone’s struggling, but I hope everyone that loves giving and digs deep.”
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The portion of Main Street from Science Street to Community Drive will be closed from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. when the cruise begins. She asked that all vehicles be removed from parking lots on that section of Main Street by 6 a.m. Saturday.
Buxton indicated that parts of Coffman Street would also be closed and there would be a diversion route around the event site for passing drivers.
The festivities begin at 10:00 am and there are several events throughout the day ending with a cruise from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. A fireworks display sponsored by Jerry’s Fireworks will cap off the evening at the end of the cruise. The upper parts of downtown offer the best vantage point to view the fireworks, as they are set off near the Park Hills Fire Department.
New this year is the Haunted Park & Hayride at Columbia Park. Buxton said the Haunted Park is organized by Brandy Marler, Kelley (Marler) Sanders and Vickie Barton, or the Twisted Sisters as Buxton calls them. Many details of what the Haunted Park will feature have been kept secret; However, Buxton did mention that there would be a “cannibal cafe”. She said the Twisted Sisters have thousands of dollars worth of spooky Halloween stuff available, so she’s very excited to see the new attraction at this year’s event.
Buxton explained that the evening drive would begin at 6:00 p.m. with a line of vehicles beginning in the area of the intersection of Main Street and Community Drive and traveling through town to Columbia Park. Once there, the line makes its first journey through the Haunted Park. Event-goers can then drive through the park in their cars or in a hay-drawn carriage until 9:00 p.m., when the ride ends.
Wearing light gray t-shirts with the Cruisin’ for a Cause logo, the event volunteers can answer any questions people might have and will be raising funds. Volunteers will have donation buckets and will be located at the four-way stop at Main and Coffman Streets and Haunted Park throughout the cruise.
Aside from cruising, there will be plenty of action at the municipal parking lot where the event stage is located.
Between 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., a beer garden opens near the event stage, which is sponsored by the Old Mine House.
Events on stage begin at 10:00 am with the Little Miss & Mister Cruisin’ 2022 pageant. Event organizer Samantha Vaughn said that this year only two participants registered, both female, so the pageant will be shorter than usual.
At 10:30 a.m., the talent show begins on stage. The show features contestants in the adult and children categories. The first place winner receives a cash prize, while first, second and third place winners receive trophies.
The entry fee for talent show participants is $10. Attendees can register on the day of the show or register before Saturday by calling the Senior Center at 573-431-4974.
After the talent show, the Central Elementary Honors Choir will take the stage at 12:30 p.m. and sing some Halloween songs before hosting a mummy contest.
From 2pm to 6pm, event-goers can enjoy live music from the band Medallion rocking the main stage.
The car park will also house around 32 vendors with a variety of stalls. Buxton noted that there would be many things to see, including a caricaturist and vendors who would display furniture, whipped soaps, signature hot sauces, designer clothing and fashion, flowers and plants, jewelry, handcrafted goods, and more.
A cornhole hole tournament starts at 2pm at the Slauterhouse Craft Parlor across from the car park. Registration is at 1pm and the fee is $10 per team. All money raised for entry fees will benefit the Meals on Wheels program.
The children’s area is located in the Southeast Missouri Credit Union parking lot. There, kids can enjoy activities like face painting, crafts, a bouncy castle, and more. The area is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is housed by the Park Hills Library.
The annual car show, hosted by the Foothills Car Club, expects a large car turnout with more than a hundred participants. The car show takes place on the lower part of Downtown Main Street between Coffman Street and Science Street.
Registration for the auto show begins at 10:00 p.m. and the admission fee is $20. The first 50 registered participants will receive a plaque. Visitors can view the cars from 12:00pm to 2:00pm and vote for their favourites. The People’s Choice Awards will be announced at 3:00 p.m. For more information about the auto show, call 573-431-3577.
It wouldn’t be an event at Downtown Park Hills without food trucks, and Buxton said there would be many area favorites up downtown Main Street that would be served throughout the day and throughout the cruise.
For those unable to attend Saturday’s event but still want to help, Buxton said donations could be made or mailed to the Park Hills Senior Center at 224 W. Main St. or Park Hills City Hall. Donations to Cruisin’ for a Cause are tax deductible.
Buxton said she was hoping for a sizeable turnout on Saturday, noting that the family-friendly event would offer something fun for everyone.
“We have such a great community here. Really,” Buxton said. “Actually, it’s in the hands of the community to make this a success. We can plan and do what we have to do, but it’s up to people to come out and enjoy the event.”
Park Hills Senior Center would like to thank all of the individuals and companies that sponsored this year’s events. Buxton said she was thrilled to have so many local sponsors this year and couldn’t thank them enough for their contributions.
So far the forecast for Saturday predicts nice weather; However, Buxton said the event would go ahead on Sunday should there be any storms.
For more information, visit the fundraiser’s Facebook page: Cruisin’ for a Cause – A Park Hills Meals on Wheels Benefit or contact the Senior Center at 573-431-4974.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com