Mt. Vernon Register-News

July 2, 2013

Calm crowds watch cars cruise

By RICK HAYES rick.hayes@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — City, county and state police had a heavy presence on Broadway in Mt. Vernon on Friday and Saturday nights, making sure visitors going to and from the Street Machine Nationals in Du Quoin were well-behaved.

Mt. Vernon Chief of Police Chris Mendenall said Monday the motorists and small crowds gathered on the parking lots of Times Square Mall, Kmart, and other locations along Broadway for the most part were peaceful.

“It was a very quiet event,” Mendenall said. “We had additional officers based on our past experiences with the event, but we didn’t need them.”

Mendenall said this past weekend’s detail was “very small,” compared to the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when the event was at its peak. The city utilized its bike patrols, with officers located on both sides of the interstate.

Mendenall said there were no citations issued and few complaints from citizens.

“I think we had one noise complaint around midnight Saturday on a private lot, but it didn’t come from any of those attending the Street Nationals, it was local people,” Mendenall said. “By the time we got there, the offenders were gone.”

One woman reported someone got into her vehicle on the mall parking lot and money and medications were taken on Sunday afternoon.

The Street Machine Nationals haven’t been to Southern Illinois for 15 years, so for several local residents, it may have been the first time to witness the muscle cars, hot rods and street rods.

“From what I’ve been told, there weren’t nearly as many participants at Du Quoin this year. They probably had one-third of the entries they have had in the past. And several groups had parties at Du Quoin, which kept the crowds at the fairgrounds, and from going out of town,” Mendenall said.

“We had a quiet, well-mannered group in town Friday and Saturday and our local citizens who went to look at the cars didn’t create any problems. We were glad to see that,” he added.