CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — An estimated 5,000 vehicles took to First Avenue last week to “cruise the Avenue,” and while some of the same car aficionados and nostalgia-seekers came out again Saturday, May 9, the cruisin’ was more subdued.
Whether it was the time change in moving the event to late afternoon, or backlash from negative coverage of a garbage-strewn parking lot and lack of social distancing, as some drivers got out of their cars last week to socialize, the hot rods, classic cars, motorcycles and other vehicles numbered fewer this time, though traffic picked up as the night progressed.
At least one driver seemed to confuse the trip back in time with something more sinister, sporting a Confederate flag from his pickup truck.
Still, for other Iowans seeking an entertaining outlet during the coronavirus pandemic, the lineup was impressive and more relaxed, though traffic backed up bumper-to-bumper later in the evening.
Iowa has been less restricted than other states during the pandemic, even as confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 continue to mount. Linn County is among 22 Iowa counties where some restrictions remain in place, while much of the state has as least partially “reopened.”
Dating back to the 1950s, teens often cruised First Avenue in Cedar Rapids as a way to show off their cars and socialize. The pandemic iteration has been drawing an older crowd, with some bringing along children or grandchildren.