A weekend of wheels and W.O.E.

Unique cars and trucks rumbled through downtown for the annual Rock Roll N Rumble.

Cottage Grove double-booked itself for a weekend of cars, music and heritage last week as both the Rock Roll N Rumble and Western Oregon Exposition (WOE) Fair pulled off successful events amid concerns that area rises in COVID-19 cases could restrict activities.

“We certainly were cognizant of the pandemic,” said KNND owner Cameron Reiten. “And while we certainly don’t want to put anybody in danger, we think that the morale of the community is raised when you do these events and is something that definitely deserves consideration.”

The 10th annual Rock Roll n Rumble event this year drew a moderate crowd.

The all-day event, hosted by KNND and the Coast Fork Kiwanis Club, began at 8 a.m., bringing back the “Show and Shine” display as downtown Main Street lined up with all variety of classic automobiles.

As the sun began its westward descent, unique vehicles participating in the car cruise puttered and roared through the Historic Downtown District.

Onlookers kicked back along the route to admire the show. Though a smaller turnout than last year, the crowd was no less enthused as drivers flaunted their rides or squealed their tires, prompting cheers from the audience. 

Nostalgic tunes of local rock band Men from S.U.R.F livened the after-cruise party in the city parking lot next to Stacy’s Covered Bridge Restaurant.

“I think with what we had to work with, the uncertainty that we had to deal with planning the event, it definitely was a success,” said Reiten. “And the cruisers that were there absolutely loved it.”

Meanwhile, the Western Oregon Exhibition held its 89th annual heritage fair over the weekend as well.

“Our aim certainly was not to compete with the fair,” noted Reiten. “In fact, we encouraged folks to hit the fair as well as hit our event.”

This year, however, the popular lumberjack contests were pulled off the list of events due to COVID-19. Still, considering the entire event was canceled in 2020, many were happy just to see the event take place.

Music, children’s entertainment, animal rides and an array of vendors were featured throughout the three-day fair.

Though a free event, guests had the option to donate money or food at the gate.

In all, about 1,380 pounds of food and $542 were donated. The food was passed along to nonprofit Community Sharing.

“This is why I love Cottage Grove,” said organizer Alice Nowicki. “They’re all so generous and help each other out.”

As for next year, Nowicki is looking forward to a big comeback.

“We’re going to have it and we plan to have it even better if we can,” she said.

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