Get your motor running at the Port Orchard CRUZ

The annual event attracts big crowds and fancy cars.

You will see plenty of classic cars at the Port Orchard CRUZ car show on Sunday. The exact number depends on whether the sun is shining.

“If it’s a nice weekend, we’ll pull in between 500 and 600 cars,” spokesman John Kincl said. “If it rains, only about half the attendance will show up.”

The weather-dependent attendance is understandable. The CRUZ attracts car enthusiasts as far from Canada and California who bring in their “babies” for the show. Rain, however, is an enemy to a car’s pristine glossy finish and leaves pesky watermarks.

Because there isn’t an age restriction, cars represent a wide spectrum of years, from antiques to current models. As long as it is a custom car, it can be displayed. Kincl said the majority of entries were manufactured from the 1940s through the 1960s. The cars are judged in more than 50 different class categories including: best custom car, best sports car and best street rod.

“We even have a class for PT Cruisers,” Kincl said.

The CRUZ is organized by the Port Orchard-based Saints Car Club. The club has about 65 members and most own one or two cars, although one member owns 20.

And while the Saints Car Club members will display their cars at the CRUZ, they won’t be vying for a prize.

“At a lot of car show, clubs will judge their own cars and give prizes to their members,” Kincl said. “We don’t do that.”

The featured car at this year’s show is a 1936 Ford Tudor owned by Bremerton resident Andy Barcheck. The car is a national award winner and in January it took home the Al Slonaker Memorial Award at the Grand National Roadster Show in California. Barcheck took a stock 1936 Ford and completely modified it to modern specifications, including power windows and cruise control. “It’s one of the highest awards you can get in the nation,” Kincl said. “It’s quite a prestigious honor.”

The one-day event draws a sizable crowd to the Port Orchard waterfront. Past attendance estimates range between 20,000 and 30,000 spectators.

Free shuttle buses begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until the last afternoon run at 4:30 p.m. The buses will pick up passengers at the Port Orchard Armory on Mile Hill Drive, as well as the county courthouse parking lot on Cline Street. Another option is to park in Bremerton and use the foot ferry to cross over to Port Orchard.

Over the years, the CRUZ has raised money for South Kitsap’s Helpline food bank, as well as scholarships for South Kitsap High School’s automotive students. In the past fifteen years, the CRUZ has donated over $40,000 to local charities. Admission to the Sunday event is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items or monetary donations.

The award ceremony for the car show begins at 3 p.m. and local dignitaries such as the Mayor and Police Chief will present trophies to the winners.

Running alongside the CRUZ is the Fathom’s o’ Fun Festival by the Bay. To the untrained eye, the two events merge into one festival, but in reality, they are separately organized.

“We help each other out,” Festival by the Bay organizer Bob Morehouse said. “They do their thing, we do ours.”

Festival by the Bay will have craft, commercial and food vendors. There will also be pony rides and bouncy houses for children.

And if the forecast for Port Orchard as of press time holds, it looks like you can leave your umbrella at home.  Forecasters are calling for a partly sunny day with a high of 70 degrees—perfect for car-viewing along the waterfront.