Auburn Cruise Nite Dos and Don’ts: An Etiquette Guide

Downtown Auburn event back Friday on Lincoln Way
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Gus Thomson/Auburn Journal

Colorful shade umbrellas - particularly with a vintage-vehicle theme - are a definite “do” for deflecting the summer sun at Auburn’s Cruise Nite, which happens again Friday evening in Downtown Auburn.


Auburn’s version of Hot August Nights — which is also taking place this week — is actually older than the Reno event.

The Biggest Little City in the World has been playing host to a car show that attracts 6,000 vehicles from the pre-1977 era for 32 years.

Auburn’s Cruise Nites has been a summertime fixture in the Endurance Capital of the World, attracting 300 or so pre-1973 model years since 1984.

Both events offer a plethora of sights and sounds.

But attendees should come armed with basic knowledge of the etiquette of a car show — indoor or outdoor.

Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to make Friday’s Auburn event more enjoyable:

Don’t bring a dog. Those tires don’t appreciate having a leg lifted on them.  

Do bring children. Kiddos can learn a lot — from mechanics to history — at an auto show and interact with some car owners interested in sharing their passion for vintage Detroit steel.

But Don’t let your children run free

Do regale your children with stories about your own childhood experiences with family cars   

And if they’re losing interest in those nostalgic ramblings, Do encourage them to take their own photos with their phones

Do immerse yourself in the experience. Stop in at The Original Mel’s Diner on Highway 49 or Local Heroes in Downtown Auburn before or after Cruise Nite to get that old-time drive-in flavor — without the car hop and but with comfortable seats and air-conditioning.

Don’t mock. If you’re a Chevy fan and there’s a Ford that you’re looking at, it’s not good form to loudly voice your opinions on what you may consider an inferior product. Same goes for Ford folk. The irritated owner may be standing behind you.

Don’t comment on flaws in a vehicle. This isn’t a competition. It’s your hometown. And these car owners are your neighbors. They’re out to have a good time and show off their pride and joy — not deal with “Buzz Kill” Bill.

Do compliment an owner on a vehicle or a particular part of one — paint job, upholstery, engine — that you like. In most cases, they’ve put a lot of time, money and enthusiasm into their classic auto. Compliments are free and could make someone’s day.

Do give some of the Downtown Auburn businesses some attention. You never know what you can find in local shops and they’ll appreciate customers when their street is closed down. The vendors on the street for Cruise Nite also appreciate some trade to make their presence worthwhile.

Don’t steal. Don’t even think about it.

But if you see someone taking something from a vehicle, Do alert authorities or organizers — the ones in the nifty yellow vests — immediately.

Cruise Nites runs from 5-9 p.m. Friday along four blocks of Auburn’s Lincoln Way between Elm Avenue and High Street.

Bob Kennedy, of the Cruise Nites organizing committee, said that he expects the number of vehicles is expected as usual to be down from other Cruise Nites because of the many Auburn-area vintage autos that take part in Hot August Nights. But as many as 200 vehicles could still be on the street.