Bastrop News

Cars, Parade Highlights of Juneteenth

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By Terry Hagerty

“I’m a computer man by day and on the weekend I play with the cars!” declared Mark Peterson as he stood in the middle of another great turnout last Saturday for the Blue Flame Cruisers Car & Motorcycle Club show. The event was held in the parking lot of Bastrop City Hall, and was preceded by a mid-morning Juneteenth Parade down Main Street.

There were vintage autos stretching back to the 1930s, 1950s’ pickups, a pristine 1960s-era Mustang, and an unusual Metropolitan sub-compact that drew plenty of attention.

Peterson, vice president of the Blue Flame Cruisers, explained his fascination with vintage vehicles, including dedicated work on his1969 Chevrolet Chevelle: “I like muscle cars – I’m a real enthusiast of them. I restored my Chevelle – it’s  expensive to build but once it’s together it’s just a matter of keeping it shiny!” And his passion for cars apparently runs in the family: Mark is one of more than a dozen relatives in the club, including four of his brothers: Bill, Craig, Doug, and Pete. There are also sons, cousins, uncles, aunts, sisters – you  name it –  involved in the club.

A nifty – and quite diminutive – 1961 Nash Metropolitan, owned by Barry Mann of Smithville, was of the dozens of vintage autos and pickup trucks drawing attention. Mann said the car was first manufactured in late 1953 and had an 8-gallon fuel tank and three-speed shift. Wes Churchill, who strolled up to admire Mann’s car, declared, “My wife wants a Metropolitan. Look at it – she thinks it’s the cutest thing out here!”

It wasn’t just a day of cars. The annual Juneteenth Parade – commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States in 1865 – drew plenty of applause as it made its way down Main Street at 10 a.m. And over at the Kerr Community Center, after the parade, Elroy Williams was enjoying some good food and lively crowd. Williams has devoted more than three decades to helping to restore and preserve the historic Kerr Community Center. A stone’s throw from the Kerr Center, Bastrop City Council member Dock Jackson looked smart in his traditional African clothing. Jackson said he needed some sustenance and was soon biting into one of the many delicious hamburgers for sale, part of an array of eats that included brisket and sausage at several stands. And so the day went – an excellent community celebration that involved a lovely parade, dazzling vintage autos and trucks, and food one could hardly ignore!

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