Glendale Cruise Night cruises forward

The annual Cruise Night that will take over a portion of downtown Glendale on Saturday will, for the first time in 20 years, be fully supported by private sponsors and community funds, organizers said.

That means the annual event that features hundreds of classic vehicles — and even more oohs and ahhs — has gone from being dependent on tens of thousands of dollars in city assistance to self-sustainable in just a few short years.

About $95,000 in Redevelopment Agency funds had been used in years past to pay for the event, which is free to the public. But when state lawmakers dissolved local redevelopment agencies throughout California, city officials scaled back the event and allocated roughly $53,000 from the city's General Fund to pay for the event.

This year, organizers were tasked with coming up with a new strategy for funding the popular event, so they sent out sponsorships packets to 200 businesses. Their efforts paid off.

"For the first time, it is anticipated that this year the event will be 100% funded by corporate and community sponsorship," Onnig Bulanikian, the city's community services manager, told City Council members on Tuesday.

As of Thursday, organizers had secured $41,800 — a major portion of which came from the Downtown Glendale Assn. and Brand Boulevard of Cars, Bulanikian said.

The remaining money will come from about 400 car owners, who must register their pre-1979 vehicles to participate in the event. New cars will also be on display.

This year, nine trophies were donated and will be awarded to participants, with judging taking place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Awards will be presented at 8:30 p.m.

The event, which runs from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., extends along five blocks on Brand Boulevard, with the main stage at Milford Street and several vendor booths scattered throughout.

Jewel City Bowl will create a bowling alley on Brand to entertain children.

The Tokens, known for their hit song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and the Surfaris — which will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their song "Wipe Out" — will be performing this year for a crowd that's anticipated to reach 40,000.

"This is one the best events that goes on in downtown Glendale," said Councilman Ara Najarian at the council meeting.

Organizers are encouraging attendees to also participate in the city's various social media campaigns.

Attendees were asked to submit photographs from the event with the hashtags #myglendale, #glendalecruisenight and #glendaleafterhours to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to possibly win a prize.


Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.


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