Life in the Burg: “Cruising Main” Vol. 2 Art. 2

/ / Leifeld's Blog, Life in the Burg

Main Street Petersburg

“Looks like someone was out having fun.” As we pulled onto Main Street, the faint tracks of a snow packed cookie came into view. There was nothing overly special about the tracks, however they were the only sign of life on that bitterly cold evening.

I couldn’t help but try to picture this same scene 25 years go. Cars lined up, bumper to bumper on either side of Main Street. A barrage of Grand Marquis, Cougars, Caprices, LTD’s, and Cutlass Supremes crammed with high school kids. Cassette tapes of old school rap and hard rock blared from oversized speakers. In a pre-cell phone era, hand signals were used for communicating. Even if you weren’t in town, you could hear people cruising Main as they honked at friends…every time they passed.

Stories of Cruising Main still surface during holidays and family get-togethers. Seeing Kenny Delay “perched” next to the grain elevator remains engrained in this generation’s memory. Spending your Saturday nights on Main Street wasn’t just something to do; it became part of who you were.

Backtrack another generation and Cruising Main was an even bigger part of growing up in Petersburg. For students of Petersburg High School, you didn’t head home without “flipping a few Mains” first. The cars themselves were no doubt more impressive. Sounds of the blues and rock ‘n’ roll flowed from push button car radios. Stores stayed open. People of all ages mingled. The constant honking easily drowned out conversation.

Today, the people cruising Main aren’t high school students. In fact, they would adamantly tell you that what happens now shouldn’t even be called Cruising Main. But there are those who, consciously or not, continue to drive past their own home to take a slow drive down Main Street. They may be the only car in sight, but that’s not the point. It’s the pastime that helped shape their youth, and the memories that were created here.

The creator of the “snow” cookie remains a mystery—one that isn’t worth investigating. But for a few moments, it brought back a sense of nostalgia for what weekends in Petersburg used to look like. And who knows, maybe one day—in addition to the official Petersburg Cruise Night—we’ll take over Main again.