Griot’s Garage to host second annual reunion of car cruisers

// Busch’s 61st anniversary reunion to honor Tacoma’s golden era of the 1950s

  • CRUISING CAPITAL. Back in the 1950s, Busch’s drive-in was the teen scene for socializing, romancing and listening to the hit music of the era. On Aug. 26, many of those who gathered there will reunite at Griot’s Garage to celebrate Busch’s 61st birthday, and the public is invited. (Photo Courtesy Of Walt Kaplin (From Tacoma Public )

Considering last year’s large and festive turnout for the 60th anniversary reunion to honor the famed Busch’s drive-in, this year’s second annual event at Griot’s Garage promises to be just as fun. It happens Aug. 26 from 9-2 p.m.

Open to the public, everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the open-air car show and friendly atmosphere – and maybe even learn a thing or two about Tacoma’s storied cruising past. Open to all special interest vehicles, early-bird registrants at the show will receive a dash plaque and a CD of the greatest songs from the ‘50s that once played at Busch’s.

A beloved car cruising capital of the West Coast, if not the nation, Busch’s was a hopping place during the 1950s. Even though the cruising hot spot at South 38th Street and South Tacoma Way is no more, and owners Bill and Thelma Busch have since passed away, their spirit and the great memories of Busch’s will be honored during this Sunday’s family friendly anniversary celebration.

Local car enthusiast Walt Kaplan is lead organizer for this event, and he also supplies the hit music from the ‘50s that plays throughout the day. “I was told that several early pioneers and legends of the hobby from Lincoln High School were reacquainted for the first time in over 50 years,” he recalled about last year’s reunion. “Marvelous weather, Griot’s, a fantastic facility, friends, fellowship and the wonderful stories shared about the glory years of the ‘50s at Busch’s brought back fond memories and also a few tears.”

Back in the day, students at Lincoln High School helped make Tacoma the epicenter of the cruising phenomenon by making Busch’s their home away from home. On any given Saturday night, it was commonplace to see hot rods and custom cars from throughout the Northwest and Canada lined up at Busch’s, the largest drive-in north of San Francisco. Many of these youngsters continued their love of the automobile to this day as serious hobbyists and auto detailing and restoration experts. These “old timers” will be at Griot’s on Sunday with their rides polished and glistening, and they are always willing to talk about their cars with anyone. As Kaplan said, “Those of us who grew up in Tacoma and were part of the Busch’s scene during the ‘50s are dedicated to keeping those wonderful memories alive and sharing them with the next generation of hot rodders.”

He thanked Griot’s Manager Jason Mathews, Assistant Manager Guy De Vivo and the entire Griot’s crew or helping make the reunion possible. Griot’s Garage is located at 3333 S. 38th St.


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