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Lions serve community with cruz-ins

By Rachel Wartian


The Smithfield Lions Club is celebrating its 11th season of cruz-ins this year.

Every year starting in April and going through October, the Lions Club holds its cruz-ins twice a month.

At each event, they host a car club from the Tidewater area. This allows for a variety of cars to get shown, such as Mustangs, Corvettes, Pontiacs, Jeeps, military vehicles, fire trucks and Model As. On July 19, the next cruz-in will be held featuring the Tidewater Four Wheelers.

At the end of the season, the Lions hold a Trunk or Treat event in October. This year, it will be held on Oct. 18 featuring Pontiacs of Coastal Virginia. The parking lot will be decorated with more than 10,000 lights, 60 Halloween inflatables and tons of costumes. Cars also get in on the fun, as they are decorated in Halloween attire.

“It gives our youngest visitors an opportunity to try out their Halloween costumes before the big night,” said Lion Tim Marinelli, a Smithfield Lions Club member who helps organize these events.

This year, the food vendor is Big Daddy’s Bar-b-Cue, serving up juicy pork chop sandwiches and brats.

Bringing music to the event is DJ Tom Norris, one of the most popular DJs in Hampton Roads.  Tom Norris is a member of the Lions Club and plays popular music from the 1950s and ’60s.

According to the cruz-in attendance, in August, the Lions are set to have their 10,000th car or motorcycle. This lucky winner will win gifts and recognition.

“We cannot wait to see to find out who that driver is,” said Lion Tim Marinelli.

Drivers give $2 at the gate to show off their car. In return for their $2 donation, drivers receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win an end-of-year cash prize. The money raised from these cruz-ins goes to the Smithfield Lions community service.

The community service the Lions Club provides includes helping people with low vision or hearing, as well as doing service projects. They also do nursing home visits, high school music scholarships, guide dog programs, diabetes awareness and family camp, and audible Easter egg hunts for children with low vision. The Smithfield Lions Club is spearheading the funding of a new playground for Carrollton Elementary.

Every first and third Friday, the cruz-ins take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. until Oct. 18 at Sentara St. Luke’s Hospital, 20209 Sentara Way, Carrollton.