ROXBURY, NJ – 2020 has been a rough year for the classic car lovers in the North Jersey Street Rod Association, but the group is ending the year on a high note as it meets today at Roxbury Mall.

It’s the club’s final weekly gathering at the Succasunna site for 2020. Club President Tom Harvey said the car buffs will be there – in the parking lot adjacent to the former Cinepolis movie theater – until 8:30 p.m.

They call it the Roxbury Mall Tuesday Night Sunset Cruise. Harvey said the fact that today is the last Sunset Cruise of the year has a lot do to with just that: The setting of the sun as autumn approaches.

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“It gets dark early, and it gets cold,” he said. “It just doesn’t work beyond today. We don’t get enough cars.”

The car lovers’ other big, Roxbury-based fundraiser – the annual Father’s Day show at Horseshoe Lake Park – was canceled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Sunset Cruise is free, but the club sells tickets for door prizes and a 50-50 raffle. All money goes to the Valerie Fund to help fight childhood cancer, Harvey said. He said the Sunset Cruise had a delayed start for the same reason.

“We usually start in the middle of June but this year we started in July,” Harvey said. By then, people were itching for outdoor activities so the gathering of hot rods drew many happy visitors.

“People needed a place to go,” he said. “People needed a place to get out. We never heard ao m any people say ‘thank you,’ especially back in July when everything was still closed up tight. We got it done. We made it work and all the eateries in the mall are happy we’re back.”

Harvey said the club tries to enforce social distancing at the event, urging people who can’t stay six feet apart to wear masks.

After today’s final installment of the Roxbury Mall Tuesday Night Sunset Cruise, the club members will likely spend their Tuesday’s driving their shiny vehicles to other “cruise night” events, Harvey said.

“We’ve had enough of it by now,” he said. “There are a couple of other cruise nights we want to go to.”

Last year, the club added an extra night to its schedule to raise money for Kenvil resident Chris Schmidt, a Roxbury Department of Public Works employee whose foot had to be amputated due to a motorcycle accident. Schmidt, who is now walking with a prosthetic leg, serves as DJ for the Sunset Cruises.

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