TAMPA If you are the kind of person who needs to buy a new car every year, this isn’t your kind of crowd.
Every Friday, a group informally know as the Friday Night Cruisers, gets together at the Dairy Queen Grill & Chill in Citrus Park, 8410 Citrus Park Drive. They have been doing it for eight years and are ready to celebrate. On April 5, they will host their anniversary event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. featuring some of the best vintage cars around, a real throwback to the 1970s and beyond.
Besides all the classic, muscle and custom cars, Dairy Queen will supply a large ice cream cake with free ice cream to the first 20 who enter vehicles. All are invited, either to visit or enter a vehicle.
For organizer Paul Figoni, holding the weekly event in Tampa seemed obvious. Before starting up in Tampa, the nearest similar event was in Wesley Chapel. Figoni, whose ride is a 1974 Trans Am, said Dairy Queen was receptive and has hosted the event every week for the last eight years unless there is heavy rain. Even when the weather is bad, Figoni said some of the loyalists still show up.
“We have guys who will come here in a hailstorm,” Figoni said.
Dairy Queen, with its somewhat vintage look, is a great backdrop to the show, Figoni said.
“Dairy Queen agreed to work with us and they have been great,” Figoni said. “We all have a lot of fun and we’ve all become good friends. There’s no real organization. We are just a group of guys.”
Parking restrictions keep the total of cars every week to a maximum of 45. Modern muscle cars can participate and there are also some cars that are simply “unique” such as a recent car that was customized with Florida State Seminoles colors and logos.
Most of the cars date back to the 1950s and so does most of the music that you hear. Figoni is the disc jockey and takes requests. Participants are allowed to bring their own CDs as well.
You might notice that Figoni refers often to “the guys.” Women are invited to participate, but no female has become a regular and he hopes that changes.
“It’s not a guys’ club,” Figoni said. “If you like cars and to talk about cars we want to meet you.”