Summer ‘begins’ with a busy night in North St. Paul

file photo • The History Cruze Car Show will be rumbling into North St. Paul on Friday, June 1, for the first time this season and continue on Friday nights through mid September.

Car show, Relay For Life events are June 1


Although summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, North St. Paul will mark the first of the month as the unofficial start of the season. 

June 1 will be an exceptionally busy night in the city with hundreds of antique cars lining Seventh Avenue, authors signing copies of their latest books, emergency vehicles on display at City Hall and high schoolers raising money for cancer research. 

The History Cruze Car Show, which runs from 6 to 10 p.m. every Friday June 1 through Sept. 14, brings together a unique combination of food trucks, merchants, antique cars and live music.

“This year we’re completely booked up again with bands,” says Bruce Fabio, an organizer of the show. “When we put the word out it took about 45 minutes to fill all 32 slots.”

On June 1, Any Day Now Band will be rocking the space across from Neumann’s Bar and Brian Peterson will perform songs from a variety of genres near Sidewinders.

Fabio adds that the food trucks are also ready to go, and this year, though it will be mostly the same as last summer, will include a few new food choices. Mexican food and walking tacos will be available in the River of God Church parking lot, and soft serve ice cream will be available in front of Village Pizza.

Fabio also says that the artwork for this year’s History Cruze t-shirts, designed by Paul Lyons, is especially colorful and beautiful.

“I think people are really going to love it,” he says, adding that History Cruze t-shirts from over the last 20 years are collectables. “It’s almost like a badge of honor to walk around with shirts from yesteryear.”

Car show t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats will be sold on a table in front of K&J Catering.

Event organizers are always looking for volunteers, Fabio says, adding that people are needed to direct traffic, answer questions and generally help folks out. Fabio says that even an hour or two of time volunteered any given night is helpful. Those interested in volunteering can contact Paul Houlston by calling 651-210-9645.



In conjunction with the car show, four authors will be selling and signing their latest books from 4 to 8:30 p.m. outside Paperbacks Plus Bookstore, located near the corner of Margaret Street and Seventh Avenue.

North St. Paul resident Michel Prince and Maplewood resident Mike Wilke, who will be signing books June 1, are just two of the area authors included in this summer’s lineup. 

Katherine Harris, owner of Paperbacks Plus and who’s hosting the authors, says she tries to provide a platform for “super-local” authors when she can.

Prince is a best-selling author of contemporary, historical and paranormal romance, and Wilke is a cartoonist and the author of the “Watermelon Bones” series. 

Some of this summer’s other local names include George Schire, JT Adeline, Tony Ducklow and Kara Jorges.

Other authors, like those with the Midwest Fiction Writers, are from Minnesota, though not necessarily North St. Paul or its surrounding cities. 

Denise Devine, who writes sweet contemporary and inspirational romance, and Lizbeth Selveg, who is known for her rich, layered stories with complex characters, are both Minnesota authors who will be attending the car show June 1.

Harris also says she is very excited to have booked USA Today best-selling author Ella Quinn, for later this summer. Quinn, who is known for her smart, spicy Regency romances, will make her way from her home in the Virgin Islands to be at the July 13 car show promoting her new book, “You Never Forget Your First Earl,” which is her fifth book in The Worthingtons Series.

Although Harris says she focuses mostly on booking local authors, she adds, “Certainly I’m always trying to expand my net of literary things.”


Public safety open house

For the last few years, the North St. Paul police and fire departments have held a public safety open house the first night of the car show, and this year is no different.

Although some of the plans are still being finalized, Fire Chief Scott Duddeck says that all of the city’s public safety vehicles and equipment will be on display from 6 to 9 p.m. for families to check out at City Hall, which is located just one block north of Seventh Avenue on Margaret Street. 

The city’s police officers and firefighters will be on hand to show people around, answer questions and pass along safety tips. Also, the fire department will hold a kitchen grease fire demonstration, and the Salvation Army Mobile Canteen will be passing out free hot dogs and refreshments. 

Duddeck says that it has worked well having the open house on the same night as the first car show of the season because the two events together attract a bigger crowd then they may have separately, especially if the weather is nice.


Relay for life

As busy as North St. Paul will be with all of the other events going on June 1, the North High School Relay for Life is bound to attract even more people, although Relay For Life staff/falculty advisor Aron Helm says the shared date is merely coincidence.

“We typically do the last day in May, or whatever the seniors’ last day is,” Helm says, adding that by hosting the event the last day in May or first day in June, North High School avoids competing with its sister school, Tartan High School, which organizes a Relay For Life event in mid-May.

The North Relay For Life will be held at the high school, 2416 11th Ave. E., from 6 p.m. June 1 to 6 a.m. the following day. However, the event will only be open to the public between 6 and 11 p.m.

During the event, teams of North High School students will walk around a track all night to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Community members who are interested in donating, but unable to donate in person, can donate online by searching “North High School Relay For Life.” This year, North High School has set a goal of raising $25,000. 

“Really, it’s just as much money as you can raise, and the great thing about American Cancer Society is 70 percent of the profits actually go to cancer funding — you know, the care house, research, families who can’t afford it — the money goes to them, so it’s great that the money goes where it’s supposed to go,” Helm says.

He says that during the community hours, there are “a ton of different events going on.” One such event is a kickoff ceremony at 6 p.m., which will include a speech from North St. Paul Mayor Mike Kuehn and stories shared by cancer survivors.

Another event is the luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m., which is a remembrance of those who have passed away due to cancer. Participants can make luminaria bags dedicated to lost loved ones, and the bags are illuminated with candles as the sun sets.

“The luminaria ceremony is probably the most powerful of all the events,” Helm says. “It’s just a really neat experience, even if you haven’t personally dealt with loss due to cancer.”

Between the kickoff and luminaria events, there will be several smaller things going on, such as a Zumba fitness activity, food trucks selling snacks and people giving haircuts and collecting hair for those who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.

Helm says that during community hours, the event is free and open to people of all ages and even their pets. He adds that the field will be decorated with tents, banners and bags and the track will be open for full participation.

“If you’ve never been to one, you know, it’s really just a neat experience to see how jazzed up the kids are about fundraising,” Helm says, “Sometimes you forget that you’re working with 14-, 15-year-olds because they’re taking the responsibility to raise this money.”

Between the car show, book signings, open house and Relay For Life, the streets of North St. Paul will be hopping June 1. There will be something for everyone to enjoy, and with all that activity, plus the beautiful weather the area has finally been receiving, it’ll hard not to think it’s summer.


Getting to the car show: 

Some streets in downtown North St. Paul will be blocked during the History Cruze Car Show, which takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. every Friday June 1 through Sept. 14. Seventh Avenue will be blocked off between First Street and Charles Street. Cross traffic at Helen Street will be blocked, but cross traffic will be able to get through at Margaret Street.

Those taking Highway 36 to get to the car show will be able to exit at McKnight Road or Century Avenue. Spectators will be able to park on the residential streets in the downtown area or will be able to park in the lot off Seppala Boulevard near Margaret Street or the municipal lot behind K&J Catering at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Margaret Street.

Those wishing to bring their antique cars do not need to sign up ahead of time and can simply show up at 6 p.m. and park. Organizer Bruce Fabio reminds participants that if they arrive before 6 p.m., they must abide by regular parking laws until the show starts. This includes a two hour parking limit and parking with the hood of a vehicle facing into a parking spot.


– Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or

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