Cruisin’ to Help Kids

Sacramento Region, CA  |  By Trina L. Drotar
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Crusin' again to raise funds to help the kids. Photo courtesy Ray Marchese.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Cappuccino Cruisers has a lot to celebrate as it enters its 25th year in the Sacramento Region. This classic car club is open to vehicles from 1979 or earlier and is probably the longest running weekly event in Northern California, according to Ray Marchese, the group’s contact.

From mid-April through October each year, car owners and enthusiasts gather to share information, show off a bit, and celebrate classic cars. On Wednesday evenings, they gather in Folsom from 5 – 8 p.m. and they welcome newcomers and any make or model of classic car.

Each week, the club collects non-perishable foods for the local food bank and once a month different groups of vehicles are featured for the club’s theme nights. Woodies, wagons, and delivery trucks are a favorite with enthusiasts as are the T-buckets, rat rods, and hot rods. Rancheros and El Caminos also have quite a following.

One of the nights features orphans, which include Tuckers, Edsels, Vegas which Ralph Nader loved, even an amphibious car from the 1960s. These are the one-off vehicles that just did not find a place in America’s car culture. They are sometimes maligned, like the Edsel, but they are also much loved by their owners and other aficionados.

“In June prior to 9/11, our theme night was 40s night spotlighting the cars, the war, the USO. After 9/11

happened, we decided that we needed to remind people where those freedoms came from,” said Marchese.

Folks with restored military vehicles are invited to bring their cars and trucks out to display. In past years, the Red Cross has attended. Folsom’s American Legion presents colors, and Marchese selects patriotic music for the event. In the tribute tent, a list of the names of those who lost their lives on 9/11 is displayed as are memorabilia that belonged to members’ parents or grandparents.

In addition to the weekly gatherings, this active group participates in several fundraising events throughout the year including the April 27 “Spring Fever Cruisin’ for Kids’ Sake” in Citrus Heights to benefit Sacramento Shriner’s Hospital patients. There will, Marchese said, be music, vendors, a raffle, and lots of 1979 and older vehicles. “Registration and raffle money go to benefit Shriner’s.”

This event is the start of what looks to be a busy year for this active group. In May, the group heads to

Roseville to host its annual “Cruisin’ for K-9s and Roseville SPCA” to raise funds for Placer SPCA and Roseville Police Department’s K-9 unit. Music, raffle prizes, food, and a display of new vehicles will be on hand.

Memorial Day weekend brings the group to the Folsom Zoo. “With the help of sponsors, we buy and give away up to 500 passes,” said Marchese. Home Depot supplies plants and the club also hosts a how-to clinic where children can pot a plant to take home.

July is the “Nostalgic Cruise of Dreams” in Folsom, and for those who cannot make it to Reno for Hot August Nights, this group will have a “Hot August” in Cameron Park. The “Denio’s 9-11/First Responders Tribute”

is scheduled for September as is the annual Carmichael favorite, “Picnic in the Park.” Cappuccino Cruisers will close the year with its annual “Christmas is for Kids Toy Drive” in Folsom.

To date, Marchese estimates the club has donated more than $200,000 in canned foods, toys, and money to various local organizations. And the group does it while having fun and working very hard to put on the shows and events.

Giving back to the community includes stuffing 30,000 plastic eggs for Folsom’s Easter egg hunt one day and returning the next day to assist with the event. And it can include stepping up for unexpected community needs like it did in 2017 with its “Firestorm 2017” event which raised over $1500.00 in cash, canned goods, and gift cards or a special raffle to raise funds to replace a man’s wheelchair.

In 2017, the club’s donations topped $12,500.00 which does not include the many volunteer hours Marchese and others give to make the events happen.

“The philosophy we adopted in the very beginning is that if we’re going to do something to help somebody, as much as we can, we want to be able to see the results,” said Marchese, so the group supports local organizations like Shriner’s Hospital or the local food bank.

“We just enjoy doing what we do.”

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