Sunday's mini-parade included 10 classic cars and woodies,
book-ended by a newer Suburban displaying the centennial logo and a
Saab convertible with two banners promoting the launch festivities.
"I just thought it was kind of a fun way to get the community
involved and be a part of history," said Garnet Thompson, a volunteer
for the centennial's marketing committee.
The small parade was Thompson's brainchild, and she said it was
one of many ideas the marketing committee came up with to promote the
launch event. "The city only turns 100 once," she said.
Newport Beach's Kevin Donahue, owner of a light blue 1960
Corvette, helped Thompson rally local classic car owners and plan the
Donahue, who bought the Corvette when he was 16 and has been
driving it ever since, said the parade was a nice change from the car
shows he often attends.
"This is kind of fun because you get to get out and drive," he
The centennial cruise detoured off the Coast Highway for a drive
through Fashion Island, where Taste of Newport was taking place.
Of the 8,000 tickets being sold for the kickoff party, about 2,000
remain available, Thompson said. She's hoping the car parade will
help the event sell out.
Cynthia Best of Costa Mesa, who rode with her husband in their
1950 Ford convertible, said old cars always seem to catch people's
"It's always fun to see people smile when they see old cars," Best
said. She and her husband, John Mearns, are the proud owners of seven
classic cars. They also loaned their 1938 Chevy coupe for the parade.
"It's a great way to lead into our historical celebration by
parading these great cars from the past," said Marie Knight, director
of recreation and senior services for the City of Newport Beach.
"This event would be nowhere without the volunteers.... It's nice to
see people in Newport -- they're excited about it, and they want to
be a part of it. They want to help."
Knight said there are hundreds of community volunteers working on
the various centennial committees, organizing all the year's events.
Thompson said that since Sunday's parade was successful, the
marketing committee will consider doing a similar cruise every
quarter, for all the major centennial events.
* LINDSAY SANDHAM is the news assistant. She can be reached at
(714) 966-4625 or email@example.com.