Updated: September 11, 2021 11:58 PM
Created: September 11, 2021 12:16 PM
North St. Paul abruptly canceled Friday night's weekly History Cruzer Car Show due to a threat, according to police.
At about 5:30 p.m., the North St. Paul Police Department posted a one-sentence note announcing that the evening's car show — set to begin at 6 p.m. — was off.
People were left wondering why until about 8 a.m. Saturday, when the department shared they had received "credible information" regarding a "threat to the safety of all Car Show attendees." They, the car show organizers, and the city determined that it was viable enough to cancel the event.
"We know many people were disappointed with the cancellation, but ultimately we need to make sure everyone in the City is safe," Mayor Terry Furlong said. "We appreciate everyone who promptly cleared the area."
Officials went on to apologize for the short notice but reiterated that calling off the event was in the best interest of the community.
The car show, which runs from July to September, canned its Aug. 27 and Sept. 3 shows due to rain.
Fabio said this week was different. The mayor and police chief asked their board to shut it down due to a significant threat. They were concerned about damage to property and injuries.
"We ask you nicely," said Fabio, referring to the officials, "but if you say no it's going to be a police order."
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS asked North St. Paul police about the nature of the threat but has yet to hear back.
This year is the 27th anniversary of the History Cruzer Car Show, back after a hiatus last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The continued cancellations have been a hit to the finances and morale of the nonprofit and 60-some volunteers who show up every Friday. The show regularly has 1,000 cars and 10,000 visitors. Lowballing the cost of each car at $25,000, damage from a threat could have been significant and costly.
"We had to do it to keep the people safe," said Fabio, who founded the car show and associated nonprofit organization with his wife.
The show costs about $20,000 a summer to put on. While the show itself is free, all of the proceeds from shirt sales are donated back to the city, Veterans Memorial Park, food shelves and other charities. Good cars make good karma, and the weekly event, featuring "every State Fair food you shouldn't eat," Fabio said, is beloved by the community for its street rods, live music and multigenerational draw.
"It's a wonderful thing to go there and see three to four generations all walking together ... bonding," said Fabio. "It's a level playing field."
But the nonprofit isn't the only group impacted by cancellations. Besides the public, live musicians and vendors, too, are sad to miss shows.
The '50s and '60s — and sometimes '70s — rock-and-roll cover band TC Cats was "bummed," according to a Facebook post, but they "look forward to seeing [everyone] next summer."
Eggroll Queen Cafe, a food truck vendor and local eatery, took to social media to express their sadness about missing the show.
Thanks to social media magic, they ended up selling out that evening at their brick-and-mortar location.
If rain and safety concerns abate, there are two more car shows left this season, on Sept. 17 and 24.
Whether the eggrolls, vintage hot rods, live music or kids perfecting the hand jive suit your fancy, Fabio says you'll find something to love at the car show.
"You've got to sit and smile when you watch it," Fabio said.
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