Vehicles in all makes, models and years in an array of colors cruised down Main Street for the 5th annual Kutztown Kruizz on July 27.

“The turnout has been great. You can see the street is filled. We have around 300 cars this year,” said event chair Kelley Neyhart of Kutztown Strong. “We’re starting to draw cars from outside our local region.”

This year, Kutztown Community Partnership, event host since its inception, turned the Kruizz over to Kutztown Strong, who has been a partner in the event, providing volunteers and logistical help.

“It brings the whole community together and now Kutztown Strong is running it so the proceeds go to all of the youth and adult activities that we have for Kutztown Strong, the anti-drug coalition,” said Neyhart. “We found out from the car drivers, one of the things they like is that it’s on the street in a town. Evidently, most car shows are either in parking lots or a grass field so they like coming here and they like going into the businesses.”

The Kruizz offers a chance for car people from all over to get together.

“They’re sharing stories and ideas and cars of the same model are parking next to each other,” said Neyhart.

Doug Levengood of Fleetwood brought his 1967 yellow Corvette. Cruising down Main Street reminds him of his youth.

“I just think it’s kind of neat that you have an old college town and you shut the streets off and everybody can enjoy it,” said Levengood. “I get to see some people I don’t always see at the other car shows. It’s close to home for me so that makes it even better.”

Small groups gathered around cars talking.

“This is the only time we get to see each other,” said Levengood.

Father and son Ken and Chris Ritter of Kutztown were walking up and down Main, talking to other car owners, including Mike Billig of Kutztown. Ritter brought his 1968 red Camaro and Billig brought his 1947 Hudson pickup.

“It’s a great event for the town,” said Ken Ritter. “The Kutztown Bicentennial was the first year and it’s grown ever since. Today, we’ve got about 300 cars, that’s a pretty good success. It’s a great day for the town to get out and enjoy the day.”

Billig cruised down Main Street as a teenager almost 40 years ago so the Kruizz brings back memories.

“It’s a culmination of working on your car and getting it together, getting it to sound and look like you want it to and to be able to actually drive it down Main Street and having other people enjoy it, you couldn’t ask for more fun,” added Ritter.

Bob Hobaugh, a Kutztown Rotarian, brought his 1967 BMW motorcycle.

“Today’s event is great because there are wonderful cars and trucks and other vehicles here that just grab your eye. They’re all based on somebody’s passion and that’s the thing about this, it’s a very passionate event,” said Hobaugh.

He also likes that the Kruizz raises funds for Kutztown Strong.

“It’s a great organization that intervenes in opioid addiction and related matters. It’s a rippling effect,” said Hobaugh.

In addition to the car display, the Kruizz included raffles and door prizes, a children’s art contest, music on the patio of the Main Street Inn, photos of Kruizz cars provided by Pickup Impressions and music performed on the Main Stage all day by Shake, Rattle and Soul.

Businesses also offered specials and promotions. Business Link, the major sponsor of the Kruizz, had a display of three dirt track race cars.

Sitting outside in front of A New Day Beginning Heatwaves Tanning Wellness Center on Main Street were owners Anna Kunkleman and Robert Carr promoting the center’s red light therapy for skin rejuvenation and pain relief.

“I think it’s really exciting to see all of the beautiful cars here today,” said Kunkleman.

As a business, she said the event helps people become more aware of what’s available on Main Street and what their center offers.

“When we took over this four years ago, the goal was to change out of the traditional tanning concept into more of a wellness concept. Even tanning has to do with skin care and people don’t realize that as they dry their skin out by either putting it under natural light or artificial light that there has to be some conditioning,” said Carr. “We’ve brought procedures in to freshen the skin, moisturize the skin in a healthy more natural way because it brings the spirit up body, mind and spirit.”

Participating cars were selected for Top 25 Awards by Main Street businesses and restaurants. Those in attendance had a chance to choose their favorite car by voting for People’s Choice and Kid’s Choice awards.

Kutztown Mayor Jim Schlegel walked up and down Main Street to pick his favorite that designates the best car in the Kruizz. The Mayor’s Award went to Kay and Don Koch.

“Once again, one of Kutztown’s great events,” said Mayor Schlegel who enjoys the camaraderie. “I see a lot of people I’ve known for many years. It’s just a good time for Kutztown. Everybody just gets together and has a good time.”

His wife, Merry Schlegel, president of Kutztown Strong, offered special recognition to Kelley Neyhart and his committee. There were a total of 54 volunteers.

“The Kruizz was a great success due to all of the support from our members and friends, student athletes, sponsors, and vehicle owners,” said Merry. “They put in an enormous amount of time and effort to make the Kutztown Kruizz a success. Congratulations and thank you for a job well done.”

Cars remained parked on Main Street until 5 p.m. Many headed to Kutztown Park afterward for a free concert by The Fabulous Grease Band for the Borough’s Summer Concert Series.

Lisa Mitchell is an editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers, covering news and events in the Northeast Berks County area.

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