Sunday, August 1, 2021

Cruise-In draws thousands to downtown Philipsburg

PHILIPSBURG — In a matter of weeks, event coordinator Eric Bordas was able to draw thousands of visitors to downtown Philipsburg with the first Philipsburg Cruise-In.

Bordas estimates there were more than 2,000 people who stopped by Front Street to enjoy the 80 to 100 cars that cruised in, along with music from Earthshakin DJ, food stands and other vendors.

“My wife and I talked about it,” said Bordas. “When they cancelled Heritage Days, we decided, let’s do something.”

Bordas gained approval from the Philipsburg Borough Council, teamed up with local businesses, had signs printed by Impact Ink and started a Facebook group. “(The group) just took off,” Bordas said. “We literally had 100 members in the group within 12 hours.”

The community feedback from the Cruise-In has been “awesome,” Bordas said.

The event kicked-off with the live singing of the National Anthem and the American Legion Honor Guard performing a prayer and a moment of silence.

“Everybody just loves cars,” said Bordas. “It was about getting people out and giving them another perspective on life, and it was a little patriotic as well. We’re Americans, and we should be proud of that and celebrate that. “A lot of people don’t care for car shows with a judgmental aspect and making your car look good to win a trophy and the obligation to be there during the entire event,” Bordas continued. “This Cruise-In gives them freedom of just hanging out and leaving when you want and just enjoying yourself.”

Bordas said he had a lot of help, especially from his wife. Local businesspeople Josh Schnarrs of C&C Tropical Paradise and Brandi McGarvey of Thieves Market also “really stepped up and helped me out,” said Bordas.

“This was designed to help the businesses, which is why we did it on a Saturday to promote it,” Bordas said. “Business owners all donated money, and we were able to raise enough money to give away 150 shirts downtown and 100 koozies. We’re just trying to give back to the community and get people to re-open their eyes and re-visit downtown Philipsburg.”

And yes, Bordas plans to make this an annual event.

“We’re already working on picking out a date,” Bordas said. “This was getting our feet wet, and we found areas where we could improve, and we’re going to go for it next year.”