Langley Good Times Cruise-in: long-time director Watts looks back

For 18 years, Cruise-In has been an important part of summer in Langley with the ability to take in everything to do with automobiles right in the downtown core.

A show this size takes a lot of planning and organizing and one member of the board brings more than expertise. Lori Watts, with the Langley Chamber of Commerce, also bring longevity and consistency to the board. She has been part of the planning team since the show began.

When asked where the biggest changes have occurred over the years, Watts responded that it has been the marketplace, in her opinion.

“The marketplace has grown to where I think it’s fantastic,” Watts said. “It’s lots of people and being able to use the casino lot has been fantastic. I think that’s the biggest change we’ve had.”

Cruise-In is well known for having every kind of car or truck possible on site. From Model As to muscle cars, classic Pinto wagons to hot rods, everything lives together in harmony at this show.

“I think the thing that’s so appealing about the show is that it’s everything,” Watts noted. “It’s not one brand of car. It’s everything mixed in all together and we’ve always said: ‘If you’re proud to show it, we’re proud to have it in the show.’”

Even those vehicles that may be undergoing restoration find themselves at home next to completely redone custom models.

Something else Watts has enjoyed seeing over the years is attendees of early shows returning year after year.

“We see a lot of men bringing their sons out, which is really nice,” she said. “I’ve had a teenager tell me that his dad has been bringing him all his life. We really like to see that.”

Some attendees are in their early and mid 20s bringing cars from the ’70s and ’80s.

“It may not sound old, but they are to these kids,” Watts said of the ’70s and ’80s models. “And that’s what it’s all about.”

What has kept a former non-car enthusiast on the board all these years?

“I guess probably the first reason is that I have met some amazing people, car guys, who I would have never met in my life, and they’ve become really good friends. I like to do it for the charity aspect, too. I like to give back.”

Watts now has her own classic car and said organizing the show becomes part of your life. In the early years, the poster artist would include Watts’ dog or cat in the poster.

“That was in the early years. I wasn’t interested in cars and the artist used to put my dog in. People have asked, ‘where’s the dog’ and I tell them the dog is still with me, just not in the poster,” Watts said.

Those who have been coming for years and newbies alike will find something to enjoy at Langley Cruise-In.

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