Visitors to the Ravenna Cruise-In saw cars ranging in ages, makes and models. Annie Zwisler/The Portager

Cruise-In remembers late founder with a comeback event featuring 1,600 cars

Cars revved and crowds cheered Wednesday night as the historic East Main Street in Ravenna kicked off the annual CelebratePortage! Cruise-In. Over 1,600 cars were present for the event, after last year’s cancellation because of the pandemic. 

Months after the event was canceled, Gary Krause, owner of Mongoose Motors and who has helped organize the event for many years, died of Covid-19. This year’s Cruise-In acted as a memorial for Krause, and many patrons were eager to show their support for him and his family.

“Gary always had his hand in planning this day, a day where everyone could come together, kick back and enjoy the cars,” said Virgil McCollal, a Cruise-In visitor and the owner of a ‘66 Chevy Mustang. “It’s nice to see so many people back this year.”

The Cruise-In included a moment of silence and a speech dedicated to Krause and his memory. Organizers of the event thanked the community for their support and hope to continue the Cruise-In every year. 

“To all of the residents of Ravenna and surrounding areas, the family of Gary Krause, Jr. and employees of Mongoose Motorsports and Portage Trim would like to thank you for your support and everything you have done this past year,” the Cruise-In website posted on July 19. “This year’s show and everyone in the future will be in memory of Gary and his dedication to building it to what it has become.”

Streets and parking lots were packed with different automobiles, from motorcycles to sports cars and everything in between. Car owners sat outside their respective vehicles as spectators toured the street.

“The cars and the excitement is what gets me here every year. I’ve had this car since it was new, and it’s always a good time to be able to show her off to everyone,” said Tom Davidson, owner of a ‘74 Plymouth Roadrunner.

There was a DJ and food vendors on East Main Street and a performance by the Ride 4 Life motorcycle team. All cars and vehicles started their engines at 7 p.m for the “Ravenna Rumble.” 

“There were a lot more cars here than the years prior, the Rumble seemed a lot louder,” said Greg Chapin, owner of a ‘57 F100 Ford. “We got so many questions about our cars, the community really comes together.”

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Annie Zwisler is a Portager contributor. She can be reached at [email protected].