Classic Car Enthusiasts Plan Kool Alternatives April Nites

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COVID-19 fears prompted organizers to cancel the highly anticipated Kool April Nites 2021, Redding’s beloved classic car show, for the second year in a row.

But within hours, a group of enthusiasts had pledged to create an ad hoc event for classic car enthusiasts in Redding.

According to one organizer, Stephanie Croce of Redding.

Many different car clubs and groups are hosting their own events this year, all of which will take place during the same week, from April 18 to April 24, 2021.

So far, three car clubs have signed up while three companies want to hold car shows, Croce said.

Jessica and Aaron Souza, owners of Timberlords Ax Throwing Range in Redding, said they plan to put on a show and shine in the parking lot of their Bechelli Lane business during Yes We KAN week, complete with food trucks and giveaways .

“We really feel – especially with the year we’ve had – that (people) need a sense of normalcy, to get out and have fun. It’s something that everyone can appreciate it and we just want to be a part of it,” said Aaron Souza, a classic car enthusiast who also owns the Concepts Customs auto tuning shop in Anderson.

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His wife, Jessica Souza, added that Kool April Nites “has been a part of our community for many years. It’s something that defines Redding and Shasta County and people come from all over the United States to be a part of it. and I think Shasta County wants to continue that legacy.”

The ad-hoc version of this coming year’s classic car affair will include a show and shine with live music and food which will be followed by a car cruise. So far, two events are planned, to be held at R&R Auto Truck Repair in Redding on April 23rd and at Redding’s Dairy Queen on April 24th.

“This will be for us enthusiasts to hang out, chat and talk about builds. This is an open invitation to anyone who wants to attend. But of course, let’s be cordial,” a post on Justin’s Facebook page read. Brim and Tim Mason, host of the event at Dairy Queen. “Everyone likes to give each other a hard time, but we’re all adults – have fun, be respectful and above all be responsible,” their post said.

Croce said the success of the Redding Garden of Lights holiday light show at Turtle Bay Exploration Park influenced thinking about an alternative, unofficial classic car event. Over 40,000 tickets have been sold for this outdoor light show.

“If it’s okay, I don’t see who gets to choose, what’s okay and what’s not,” she said.

She stressed that her group was not political or taking sides in the coronavirus debate. “We just want to get together safely and get on with living our lives,” she said.

“We encourage people to stay safe…it’s up to each individual what they choose to do,” she said.

After a statewide lockdown in mid-March due to the threat of the virus, some individual Redding clubs held about 10-15 vintage car shows and cruises earlier this year, made public via social media sites like Next Door. These events consisted of small convoys of classic cars that drove through neighborhoods so residents could watch from their lawns.

The efforts were organized by the 755-member Shasta Saturday Night Cruising Facebook page, which Croce moderates.

While the first cruise of 2020 took place in March with 14 cars, she said, convoys have grown to around 30 cars this fall and now include modern Teslas and other eye-poppers. “So now that we know Kool April Nites is canceled this year, it’s going to be a lot more organized,” Croce said.

“He just kept growing and growing and growing,” Croce added. “Each of us knows so many people from so many other car clubs that once we reach out it’s like wildfire. There’s a huge car community here.”

Meanwhile, while it won’t happen in 2021, the Kool April Nites board says they’re preparing for a comeback at some point.

“This is by no means the end of Kool April Nites,” the band said in their Facebook post when announcing the 2021 cancellation. “This event is so important to our local economy, youth programs and car enthusiasts.

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Michele Chandler covers municipal government and housing issues for the Redding Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. Follow her on Twitter at @MChandler_RS, call her at 530-225-8344 or email her at michele.chandler@redding.com. Please Support our entire newsroom’s commitment to public service journalism by subscribing today.

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