Greeneville city leaders and organizers bring back cruising for a night of nostalgia


GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) Let’s pretend it’s 1991 on a Saturday night, in Greeneville.

The downtown square filling up with classic cars, like hot rods and loud mufflers, roaring through the town.

Cruising was the trend for many small towns but was put to an end due to the cause of traffic.

Pheben Kassahun traveled to Greeneville to learn how the event is being brought back to life this weekend.

The cruising culture is an old tradition of strolling in downtown areas across various towns. This weekend, event organizers are hoping to bring back feelings of nostalgia for folks in Geeneville, back to where it all began, right here on Tusculum Boulevard.

Let’s take a stroll back to 1991.

The Internet was just made available to the public, there were more pagers than cell phones and the spirit of friendship ran deep, in the outdoors

“In a much simpler time,” event organizer, Tommy Bennett said. “We had no sit-down restaurants, there were no Applebees, Aubrey’s, no Monterrey’s. None of the things that we have today in the modern world. We had a burger joint. We had a tank of gas, we had a radio in our car and we had friends.”

Greeneville native, Tommy Bennett recalls being a 16-year-old with a Ford Pinto, much like this one, cruising up and down Tusculum Boulevard.

“As a teenager, this was the gathering spot, even after high school. After class for the day, we would meet in town, get together and venture out and do other things throughout the community,” Bennett said.

Overtime, the cultural marvel grew, as did the Town of Greeneville, causing the city to pass an ordinance to ban it on May 4, 1993.

Bennett told Kassahun that cruising was popular in Greene County for more than three decades before the ban.

“In the early 2000s cruising kind of became frowned upon and this ban when into place. As the town was growing, we needed an emergency lane. Traffic was very congested, and it was just time to put it to an end,” Bennett said.

“A lot of the businesses were being hurt because people couldn’t get to their business,” Town of Greeneville, Mayor W.T. Daniels said. “It got to the point even emergency vehicles couldn’t get through.”

Now, Bennett is among a few other organizers working with various city officials to relive and recapture the nostalgic event for just one night.

Mayor Daniels said, “I like to see it. I’d like to bring it and I think a lot of people would enjoy.”

Organizers are hoping the event brings in about 300 to 500 cars.

“Shine up your car, bring up your ride. Come down and join us, check out our town. See what we’ve got going on. We’ve got some new construction,” Bennett said.

In conjunction with city leaders, Bennett and fellow organizers hope to make this a monthly trend during the summer months. This Saturday will be a test run and will go from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. starting on Tusculum Boulevard.

If you would like to share story ideas with Pheben Kassahun, she can be reached via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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