The second annual Cruz the Loop saw hot rods, vintage trucks and everything in between as they lined up downtown Renton on Aug. 18.
The event had a large day-of registration turnout, with vintage cars and even a semi, parking or cruising the Renton loop. Renton’s Deputy Public Affairs Administrator Preeti Shridhar said there was 200 cars registered and nearly 1,000 spectators.
The loop was open from 5 to 9 p.m. and registered vehicles were free to come in and out of the loop throughout that time, as many times as they wanted.
Donna Eglet-Jorgensen heard about the event on Facebook. She brought a 1968 Dodge Charger to drive through the loop Saturday.
Eglet-Jorgensen went to Renton High School and graduated class of 1971.
“But when we cruised in the late ‘60s we used to go down to the Seward Park loop,” Eglet-Jorgensen said. “We came from a long line of rule-breakers.”
According to the city of Renton event page, “‘The Loop’ as it was known during the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s was a time-honored tradition.”
Cruising began in the 1950s with teenagers looking for something to do, said Liz Stewart, director of the Renton History Museum.
“As more teens heard about it, they would come from towns around, like Kent and Bellevue, and the number of cars got to be unmanageable for police and businesses. There were occasionally fights or beer bottles thrown from cars,” Stewart said.
The loop, which takes you from South 2nd Street, to Shattuck, South 3rd then Wells Avenue South and back again, is following a loop used from that time.
Mark Douglass graduated Auburn High School in 1977 and also happened to bring a ‘68 Charger, but in another color.
“We might be the only two here,” he said.
Douglass said he used to cruise before he was able to drive. But he just heard about the city-ran event the day before.
“This helps us bring back childhood, or at least young adult, memories,” Douglass said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
By the ’80s there was a movement to stop cruising, and it eventually ended in the mid-1980s. There was an increased police presence, and city council even conducted studies to determine better ways for teens to spend their time, Stewart said.
“The annual Return to Renton Car Show started a few years later, to give car lovers a better way to show off their cars once a year,” Stewart said in an email.
Douglass also reflected on when they started to shut down unauthorized cruising in the city.
“It was kind of never the same after that,” Douglass said.
The event also featured The Jon Casey Band, a wing eating contest, Rain City Catering, Blue Bird ice cream and a beer garden.