Murrieta merchants, restaurateurs and residents along Washington Avenue are preparing for a special event that will bring the noise and hustle and bustle reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s when hot rods cars and teenagers roamed the town.
The annual historic Old Town Murrieta Rod Run opens Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13-14, on Washington Avenue from Kalmia to Ivy streets. The fun begins Friday with the arrival of nearly 400 classic, custom and muscle cars with their open headers and chromed engines roaring and rumbling through the streets and downtown neighborhoods of Old Town Murrieta.
The event often draws approximately 30,000 visitors to the city from around southwest Riverside County each year and is organized by the nationally recognized Drifters Car Club to raise support for the Oak Grove Center, which serves special needs youth and adults with vocational training and academic achievement.
Unlike many other rod runs and car shows, the pre-registered vehicle owners will take their spots on a first-come, first-served basis Saturday morning. The Murrieta Police Department said there will be no overnight parking allowed on Washington Avenue Thursday, Oct. 12, through the event Friday and Saturday. After the event, any cars left will be subject to towing. However, regular parking lots in the downtown area will be open for overnight parking.
Event organizers have already pre-registered all available spots. Registered vehicle owners can check in with the Oak Grove Center, 24275 Jefferson Avenue, at the Lemon Street corner. They will be given their registration packet and goodie bag at the time of registration. Registration starts 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, and continues 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13, and 6a.m. to 7: 30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.
“Every guy and every car has a story. During this great event, the city of Murrieta locks down historic downtown Murrieta, Washington Avenue between Kalmia and Ivy streets. So, come early and stay late and don’t miss the special Diamond Awards Saturday presented to over 50 selected hot rods, customs and classic cars,” according to the event website. “We will have great food, community vendors and much more. Don’t miss the best historic downtown Friday Night Cruise and Rod Run in Southern California. Also Saturday, you can get a close look at the classic vehicles, take a peek under the hoods, talk to the owners and have lots of fun!”
The schedule of events begins Friday with vendors setting up along Washington Avenue in the morning. Some adjacent downtown streets will be closed beginning 3 p.m. for the cruise. The streets will reopen after the cruise.
The cars will begin arriving 6 a.m. Saturday. After 8 a.m. the streets will be closed until 3:30 p.m. The “Show and Shine” will open 8 a.m. for the whole day, as visitors view cars and talk with owners.
The Murrieta Rod Run is free to the public with music, entertainment, food, vendors and rows and rows of classic cars, rods and customs.
Restaurants and stores in the downtown area will be open with special buys and items available for Rod Run days. The streets will reopen at 3:30 p.m. Saturday to regular traffic.
Oak Grove Center is a nonprofit residential educational and treatment center with multiple campuses for children throughout California with psychological, emotional and behavioral problems and special needs. Its mission is to rebuild the lives of at risk children and their families through education, healing, restoring relationships, building character and instilling hope.
Oak Grove is home to 75 children at the Murrieta Campus and up to 100 day students and 50 more students who attend the Perris Campus and Oak Grove at the Ranch. For additional information, visit www.murrietarodrun.com.