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Summer's Last Blast: 2012 Edition

The school year starts in just over two weeks, which means it's time for summer's Last Blast. The Vernon tradition has been running strong for 23 years, but this year's event included plenty of upgrades.
100's of American classics cruised around Vernon this weekend.

More than 800 gear heads registered to roll in the 2012 edition of Summer's Last Blast.

"We're probably the biggest event as far as a two to three day event that goes on on Vernon," said Jim Gryseels, President of the Vernon Street Machine and Classics Association, the group behind the Blast.

Gryseels said while the cruise has attracted people for over two decades, this year's event got a tune up.

"We changed the agenda on our three day event, cut it down to a two day event," said Gryseels.

He said the shortened schedule allowed organizers to concentrate their efforts on providing more fun for the whole family.

"I just like restoring history," said Roy Centers, who spent the last nine years working on his 1953 Ford F-100, a hobby which also allowed him to spend time with his kids.

"I have a four-year-old and a five-year-old," said Centers, "and they're really into this, they're little girls. We enjoy it. We take it to the drive-in about every other weekend."

This may be the 23rd year of Summer's Last Blast, but it's the first time organizers have been able to offer things like bounce houses for kids.

Another new feature: a rock crawl where drivers push their trucks to the limit, bouncing and crawling their way past huge mounds of dirt and other obstacles.

"It's actually something more for the boys and kids to enjoy," said Katrina Culipher, a Vernon mother of two boys, "of course the grown-ups are enjoying it too."

If classic cars, bounce houses and rock crawls aren't enough, 2012 is first year cruisers could take a dip at the new Orbison Park Aquatic Center, helping Summer in Vernon go out with a blast and a splash.

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