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Gadsden First Friday Cruise-In
Calendar: Events Calendar
September 3rd 05:30 PM to 09:00 PM
*The times shown may change, depending on DST settings
Where: Broad Street, Downtown Gadsden, AL
Contact: (256) 547-8696, www.downtowngadsden.org

Downtown Gadsden is transformed as hundreds of cars and bikes fill the downtown streets. And with blocks of merchants, there's tons to do.

There's no registration, no door prizes or other incentives. But get there early to get the best spots. The streets are blocked off at around 3:30-4pm and cars are already there waiting.

A word of caution though as the spectators there are the general public--stay near your car or bike as I've seen more touching and the like than I've ever seen at any event, especially from unsupervised or undersupervised kids.

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My first time to this event and I was completely blown away as hundreds of cars completely took over almost 6 city blocks in downtown Gadsden. And apparently this was a slow night with only 500+ cars there. But the spectator crowd was a record one from what the staff at "The Choice" restaurant told me. They had actually run out of food! I'm guessing there were between 2-4 thousand people there.

The cars were parked in every available street parking spot lining both sides of the street and then formed two rows right in the center of downtown. At each intersection, cars were parked on the side streets as well. Any downtown businesses that had parking lots were filled. There were cars everywhere! And there wasn't just quantity, but quality. I saw the types of cars there that I only see once a year. Some very rare stuff could be found if you looked for it.

Every other block there was some sort of live music including the Gadsden State show band at the center of the event entertaining hundreds. There was even a street performer jamming away on his guitar as the event was closing down.

In addition to all the great stores and restaurants open, there were food vendors everywhere selling almost anything you were craving.

As a spectator, you can't find a better cruise-in--lots of cars, lots of food, lots of free stuff to do, lots of shopping. But as a participant, it's okay--there's no incentive to really come other than being a spectator, and you have to watch your vehicle like a hawk because of all the kids. I saw too many tiny fingerprints on bodywork and overly excited kids practically running into the sides of cars to be comfortable leaving my special ride unattended.

I attempted to take a picture of every car there, and as dusk was upon the event, I thought I completed my task only to find that I was only halfway done. The sun had already set, so my older cameras had very limited light to work with for the other half of the event. Next time I'll know to come earlier. Enjoy the pictures and video!
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