Experiencing Cary Cruise Nights

I like cars. There, I said it. Now, that doesn’t mean I can do anything under the hood, aside from maybe adding windshield wiper fluid. I’d say I can also check the oil except my car doesn’t even have a dipstick as checking the oil has now been relegated to the computer from inside. I grew up in a “car world.” My father ran a service station…pre-convenience store days…and then later on in life, became a mechanic and a Chevrolet dealership, eventually going on to become one of the top Service Managers for Chevrolet/GM.

I still remember going to Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium (now the Fargo Arena) in Des Moines, Iowa, in the late 70’s and early 80’s as a kid to the hot rod shows…seeing all the fixed-up hot rods, the wild fuzzy dice moded-road racers, and getting my picture in front of the “original” Batmobile. The closest thing to that now would be heading to Volo.

Fast-forward a few decades, and while my car tastes have shifted, I still enjoy and appreciate a wide spectrum of vehicular expression. While I haven’t been for years, and actually before moving into the area, the Chicago Auto Show certainly provides a nearby fix for what’s new and upcoming.

We also usually make a trip to the Volo Auto Museum, either just ourselves or while entertaining out-of-town guests, every year or two, which is a great smorgasbord of flavors. And we love heading down to the Geneva Concours d’Elegance for a day of car delight.

But all of those require an investment of time or money…usually time and money, and often a fair amount of exhaustion. They are large, expansive experiences, and often shared with a lot of other individuals…simultaneously.

Those are still great, once in a while, but what we’ve come to really appreciate are the smaller experiences. More like the official Motor Werks of Barrington’s Cars & Coffee event, although that can be a little crowded and overwhelming as well, or even more, unofficial, impromptu local cars and coffee events.

So, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect on a Wednesday evening at our first Cary Cruise Night, but we had a pretty good feeling that it was a safe bet.

Cary Cruise Nights are put on weekly, Wednesday nights, from June through August, by the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce. They are held on West Main Street near the Metra Station…actually on the street and, at least the one we attended, in a couple of parking lots off of the street. But contained between Jandus Road and High Road, so a fairly compact space, with an estimated 70 – 80 vehicles (at least the night we went). Best of all, it’s free to the public.

For information on this & more McHenry County Car Shows, be sure to check out our annual guide!

Hood and chrome bumper of Lamborghini.

Affordable Family Night Out

It’s truly easy and cheap family entertainment. If you were short on time, you could work your way through in about an hour or so. You don’t have to walk blocks and blocks to see everything. And if you wanted to make an evening of it, between food trucks, such as the Brothers’ BBQ Food Truck and the Kona Ice truck, at the event and a number of restaurants in that area (like 750 Cucina Rustica, Tracks Bar & Grill, Uncle Jerry’s Pizza Company, and the Cary Ale House & Brewing Company), you could enjoy an easy night out without much stress or breaking the bank.

Cruise Night is more than just a Cary car show, it’s also a business expo. Members of the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce can also set up a table to use this as a way to connect with the community.

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More to Come, Pick Your Pleasure

We attended the opening night event, which was a good kickoff that included a little bit of everything. If you happen to have a preference for types of cars, eras, or even manufacturers, they’ve got you covered there as well. Most of the other nights feature a particular theme, so be sure to check the Cary Cruise Nights event listing for the Cary, IL Cruise Night schedule and mark your calendar…or just head there every Wednesday night!

Cary Cruise Nights started in 1998 and will be celebrating their 25th year in 2023! Depending on the theme and weather, there are often anywhere from 100 – 150+ cars. Participants come from all over the Chicagoland area, including local car clubs such as Sunburst Corvette Club out of Crystal Lake.

Cary Cruise Nights are put on by a dedicated committee made up of 18 people. The majority of which is made up of Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce members, but there are also several community residents that volunteer their time. Each week the Cruise Night Committee arrives at 5:00 pm and leaves at 8:45 pm, plus several meetings prior, so approximately 60+ hours of volunteering makes this event possible!

Cruise Nights are a fantastic summer downtown Community Event that showcases both our downtown area as well as our Chamber businesses and sponsors of the Cary Show! It brings out hundreds of people every week to enjoy cars, music, food, and community!

Lynn Caccavallo, President & CEO of the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce

Hats off to the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and the Cary Cruise Nights committee for putting on a great event!

New Chamber Member Bonus

If you’ve been thinking about joining the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, then be sure to check out this special new member discount offer I’m able to provide.

Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Referral Rewards Program logo.

President and Founder of Identity Developments, LLC, the parent company of the McHenry Life website. My hope for McHenry Life is to create a resource and destination for the residents and businesses of McHenry County alike. A place where residents can discover new places to explore, fun events and ways to spend time, and then share those experiences with others. A place where businesses can connect with existing and potential customers, and not simply market their businesses, but share their own unique stories.

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