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20 years of Somernites

Somerset car show runs monthly through October

Somernites Cruise in Somerset is one of the largest monthly organized classic and collector car events in the country.
Mustang Alley is the headliner for August. Organizers are hoping to break the world record for largest Mustang parade.
Somernites Cruise is a family-friendly event that is free for participants and spectators—bring the whole family to enjoy the show, or bring your classic car to show off.
Each event typically has a theme, but all makes and models are welcome at every cruise.

One of the hottest car shows in Kentucky is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020. For the past two decades, crowds of automobile enthusiasts have converged on Somerset to celebrate classic and collector cars. This year’s festivities are going to be the best yet.

So what are you waiting for? Fasten your seat belt, rev up your engine and cruise on over to the Somernites Cruise.

The ultimate downtown summer block party

On the fourth Saturday of each month, April through October, folks from near and far head to Somerset’s historic downtown square for one of the largest monthly organized classic and collector car events in the country. “We’re definitely the largest in the southeastern United States,” says Keith Floyd, Somernites Cruise executive director.

To put it in a 20-year perspective, a database started with the first car show in 2001 now logs a whopping 20,000-plus names of people who have participated in the event with their car or truck. Entrants have hailed from 47 states, including Alaska and Hawaii; and from multiple countries, like Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Spectators have traveled from all over the world to see what Somernites Cruise is all about.

The largest show in Somernites Cruise history took place in August 2019, with an astounding 2,022 cars on display and more than 20,000 participants and spectators combined. The momentum continues to build. This October, Somernites Cruise will have hosted nearly 140 car shows. It’s no wonder Somerset is proclaimed the official “Car Cruise Capital of Kentucky.”

20th anniversary celebration

Throughout the annual run, festivalgoers have the chance to see a variety of featured classic and custom cars, as well as hot rods and muscle cars. “Every month, we do a showcase, kind of a show within a show, where we highlight a certain vehicle,” explains Floyd. While April’s show was canceled due to the coronavirus and future dates are subject to change, this month the schedule calls for the Mopar Mania Showcase.

June features the Tri-Five Gathering (1955, ’56, and ’57 Chevy models), while July is Somernites Cruise Truckin’ Nationals.

Mustang Alley is the headliner for August, which generally draws the most people and cars. Last year, 1,156 Mustangs were on display. According to Ford Performance, it was the largest single Mustang show in the country. This year, Floyd hopes even more Mustangs will cruise into Somerset.

“We are also attempting to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest Mustang parade during our August show,” says Floyd. “That record was just set in Belgium last year at 1,326 Mustangs of all year models.”

The 15th annual Power Cruise is planned for September, along with the 4th annual Campin’ the Cumberland, a vintage camper rally. Somernites Cruise concludes in October with the Corvette Showcase.

Besides the cars and trucks on display, you might even spot some famous folks cruising around downtown Somerset. Cristy Lee, star of Garage Squad and All Girls Garage, is scheduled for this month’s show, and Aaron Kaufman from Shifting Gears and Fast N’ Loud is scheduled for July. My Classic Car host Dennis Gage is on tap for August’s show, and Gearz star Stacey David is slated to appear in September.

More than motors

No festival is complete without food, and Somernites Cruise has plenty of menu options at Vendor Alley to keep your “tank” full. Plus, there are also art and clothing vendors. If you’re looking to buy or sell used auto parts, stop by the Swap Meet.

This year’s raffle drawings feature prizes that include a 1987 Chevrolet C10 pickup truck to be awarded in July. In October, someone has a chance to win a 1957 Chevy Bel Air or a Gatormade 20-foot enclosed trailer, and you don’t have to be present to win. Additional door prizes are also up for grabs throughout the year, like a 2003 Mustang convertible at August’s Mustang Alley showcase.

In conjunction with Somernites Cruise, attendees also can enjoy classic car-related activities, such as June’s Backroads and Bourbon Cruise. In September, there’s the Power Cruise: car enthusiasts meet up in different cities, like Cincinnati, Louisville, Bowling Green and Chattanooga, before caravanning to Somerset for the Somernites Cruise. October is the Somernites Covered Bridges of Kentucky Cruise.

A family friendly event

Each monthly show concludes with Cruisin’ the Strip, where all the show vehicles head out to U.S. Highway 27 for some cruising action. On a pretty evening, thousands of spectators in lawn chairs and on blankets line the six-lane highway to watch the cars cruise past.

Somernites Cruise is a family friendly event that’s free for both spectators and participants to enjoy. Floyd says he often sees families—a grandfather, son and grandson—walking around the car show together. “It’s pretty neat to see those multiple generations being able to do an event together. It’s something you don’t see much anymore,” he says.

Floyd credits the success and longevity of Somernites Cruise to dedicated volunteers, local and national sponsors, and the support of city and county officials. “We’ve been blessed to be able to do this for so long,” Floyd says. “We’re expecting 2020 to be our largest year ever.”

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