Cruisin' the Gut was big Saturday night on Vancouver's Main Street. But was it as big as the 2011 event?
"This year blew last year out of the water," said Phil Medina, the organizer of the event that brought out thousands of people and hundreds of gorgeous classic cars, pickups, motorcycles, vans and military rigs.
"This year, I mean -- wow. The foot traffic downtown at Seventh was just as busy as at Dairy Queen or the Tip Top," Medina said of spots along the Main Street route from Sixth Street to 28th Street.
Asked if he could estimate the number of people and vehicles, Median said no.
He said people appreciated Cackle Corner at 12th Street, where about 10 dragsters sounded off. Why the name? "When those cars run, it sounds like a cackle."
Another new feature was the show cars at Turtle Place, including a Saleen S7 and a Mini Cooper with a Honda V-Tech system. There was even a rock crawler, a 4-by-4 big rig.
Medina, 36, said putting on the free show is a lot of work, but he received plenty of great comment.
"My Facebook page, it's just blown up with people ecstatic," he said.
He thinks the event might have beaten last year's record of 3,100 pounds of food donated for Share.
The food will be weighed and delivered today.
He added that the event was a thrill for him.
"You just walk around and all you see is smiles," he said. The event resonates with people, he said, because it is rooted in Vancouver's history of cruising and is free.
"Main Street was a hot cruising spot from the '50s up through the '80s, and those people are still here," Medina said.
He said some people complained about too much traffic in downtown, but Columbia Street and Broadway were uncluttered.
How about the merchants? Did they benefit?
"I heard from almost all of them, and they would tell you it was the best night of the year."
"It was the best night of the year," said Karen McMillen, who owns Vancouver Pizza with her husband, Cliff.
Many customers used the tables on the sidewalk, she said.
"Our volume was just incredible," McMillen said. "Everybody was just so excited about the event. We closed at 2 o'clock."
Medina said he heard of no problems for the police.
Did he spot a favorite car during the event?
"Down at Seventh there was a 1960 (Chevy) Impala, white in color with whitewalls. It was a really clean car."
And, yes, the car-lover plans to bring Cruisin' the Gut back again next July.