AMORY – Casually stretched out in a lounge chair in the back of his restaurant, Cruisin’ Amory originator Chad Houston assures the much-loved summertime tradition is still on, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, which has cancelled most events since spring.
“Even with the virus going on, folks can still do it safely. They can stay in their cars and socialize and see a lot of people. If you want to social distance, you can still do it. This is a unique social gathering,” he said.
Cruisin’ Amory V officially kicks off at 7 p.m. July 25, as older people can rekindle a piece of their youth and younger people can make some memories for years to come.
Opening ceremonies will be at 6:30 p.m. at Piggly Wiggly parking lot, with this year’s grand marshal being announced. The grand marshal will lead the official first loop.
In addition to riding around on the loop, there will be live entertainment at Frisco Park’s pavilion, Killjay will perform from 7 until 8:30 p.m., followed by a performance by Seeking Seven.
Additionally, Kevin Adams will be playing saxophone underneath the Main Street awnings, and DJ Ronnie Rainney will provide a dance party atmosphere at Piggly Wiggly parking lot.
“We’re encouraging everyone in the parking lot to wear masks if they’re in the category that’s susceptible to coronavirus,” Houston said.
Several businesses will be open downtown, including Deli 802, Brown Eyes Bakery, The Coffee Pot, Bill’s Hamburgers, Country Boy’s and The Gemstone, where Honeyboy and Boots will perform.
One difference from previous years is there will not be a cornhole tournament.
Commemorative Cruisin’ Amory V T-shirts, inspired by “Dazed and Confused,” are on sale at Piggly Wiggly.
“I’ve had so many people tell me it’s the best night out of the year in Amory. Nobody’s fussing and fighting. In the world we live in today, it’s this team against that team and Republicans against Democrats, and this brings us together. Everybody’s laid back, and that’s exactly what we want,” Houston said.