Cruise Centralia Car Club Hits the Streets in Holiday Style Saturday


Dozens of classic cars, many adorned with Christmas lights, hit the streets and meandered through Centralia as part of the Cruise Centralia car club’s lighted parade Saturday.

The club, made up of car enthusiasts from as far away as Oregon, meets up every Saturday at the parking lot across from the Centralia Timberland Regional Library before cruising around town in their hot rods.

That’s where the club met this past Saturday, only this time, their cars were lit up with Christmas lights as they prepared to make their way through downtown Centralia, the main drags and the Stillwater Estates retirement home. 

Residents and children gathered on the sidewalks in front of storefronts, standing and sitting in chairs while wrapped in blankets, waving at the convoy as it cruised by with Christmas sparkle. As the convoy entered the residential streets, people inside homes waved as the cars passed by. Some of the downtown stores, such as Dawn’s Delectable on Tower Avenue, stayed open later than usual to provide food and hot drinks to the convoy members and spectators.

Afterward, Dawn’s Delectables Facebook page posted: “Thank you for a wonderful night, Cruise Centralia! It was so much fun to meet so many new, first-time visitors to Dawn’s Delectables! We hope to see you all again very soon!”

At the head of the convoy was Port of Centralia Commissioner Peter Lahmann in his 1984 five-ton Army truck, with signs on the doors reading ‘COVID Response Team.’ It’s a truck he uses in the annual Centralia Lighted Tractor Parade, which was canceled this year due to COVID-19, and Lahmann said while this event is not related to that one, he hopes the lighted car cruise will provide some hope to people during what has been a rough year for everyone.

“We have to do something, with all the negativity and the way things are going these days,” Lahmann said. “We just want to do something positive and give a little cheer to people.”

Joining Lahmann were members of the PNW Steelsoldiers and the Friends of Willie and Joe groups, who also brought their old military vehicles, including a vintage Jeep. On the classic car side, Jerry King, who’s been a member of the Cruise Centralia club since it started in 2018, drove his mint-condition, purple Plymouth Barracuda with a 440-stroke to 512-cubic-inch engine.

“I saw the event on Facebook and said, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do that!’” King said. “It’s a lot of fun. With the COVID going on here, you can cruise and not really be around everybody. It works out good.”

Lonnie Renshaw also saw the event posted to the Cruise Centralia’s Facebook group and traveled from Elma to join the lighted convoy. Though he’s part of a car club based in Bonney Lake, this was his first time joining the Cruise Centralia in a convoy. He brought his 1947 Ford, sporting an orangish-brown rust-patina finish, a car he bought three years ago on Craigslist. Though his car didn’t have any Christmas lights, Renshaw did place a large Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer nose on the front of the grill.

“I saw it on Facebook and came to savor it for the lights,” Renshaw said. “It’s fun.”