STATE COLLEGE — Dozens of classic and customized cars, trucks and motorcycles roared into downtown State College on a sunny Sunday afternoon as the annual Last Cruise Invitational Car Show returned for its 34th year benefiting the Centre County Youth Service Bureau.
The event dates back to 1985 when State College Borough passed an ordinance banning cruising downtown. WRSC's Kevin Nelson and Wendy Williams organized one last cruise to benefit CCYSB and a tradition was born, becoming an annual "best of the best" show with participants invited based on success in other competitions and vehicle quality.
Chris Paveglio, of State College, has been attending the event for years, but this was the first time he was showing his own car, not only at the Last Cruise, but anywhere.
He's had his 2001 Trans Am WS6 for about 15 years, and as a member of the Sports Car Club of America, spends a lot of weekends racing it in autocross, where cars are timed going through an obstacle course of cones.
"This is the first time I’ve showed this car," he said. "It’s always been weekends racing and autocrossing with it. We didn’t have any race this weekend and I thought this would be a good thing. It’s downtown State College and I’ve come as a spectator before. I think my car was good enough to get in as a mostly original-looking, stock-looking kind of vehicle."
Paveglio notes that the car, all black with a custom Ram Air hood and Firehawk wheels, "kind of looks like the Batmobile."
He was happy to be a part of the day, and to support a good cause.
The Last Cruise raises about $20,000 a year from efforts such as sponsorships and raffles. CCYSB needs to raise more than $500,000 in private giving to help provide 14 different programs that serve children and families and reach thousands of individuals throughout the year. Some of CCYSB's programs include residential programs, a variety of family services and community programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and youth centers.
In addition to the Last Cruise, CCYSB has a few other major fundraising events throughout the year, including a sporting clays tournament, fly-fishing tournament and golf tournament.
Vehicles were on display July 29 before awards were presented and drivers took a cruise around downtown State College. After the cruise, CCYSB and the State Theatre partnered for a screening of, appropriately, Pixar's "Cars."
"It’s just a nice afternoon," Paveglio said. "People seem to have a great time looking at cars and seeing people you know around town, chatting and catching up. And some of these cars you don’t see around town everyday so it’s a good time to get out and see some people’s unusual cars that you won’t see just driving to work or the grocery store. You can see these special cars and appreciate them and enjoy them for the afternoon."