In Texoma, back to school, end-of-summer sales, and talk about the upcoming football season, signals that it's time for a huge annual event: Summer's Last Blast in Vernon, Texas.

Both sides of my family are from Vernon(Go Lions!) and I've spent a lot of time there over the years visiting family. I remember shopping at Vernon Food Store and the old United Supermarket(when it faced Wilbarger Street)for groceries, eating breakfast at the cafes downtown and for dinner, enjoying a Bevo's Burger. So, to say I like attending Summer's Last Blast each year is an understatement, I love it.

If you've ever seen the movie "American Grafitti" then you know that street scene with all the cars and trucks cruising along the main drag. That was the goal for Summer's Last Blast- to recreate that car cruise on the streets of Vernon.

Summer's Last Blast, Vernon, Texas
Credit: Laura McConnell

And I have to say, the folks who had that original vision have definitely accomplished their goal.

2022 marks the 33rd year for Summer's Last Blast and it's happening this weekend.

Here's some event background for was 1989 and a couple of guys in Vernon wanted to join a car club. Their request for membership was denied because the club only wanted drag racing cars and the guys had classic street cars. They wanted to meet other car enthusiasts and schedule regular cruises on city streets rather than race at a track. When word got around what was happening, many people in the area decided to form a new car club. Some of the dragster club's members showed up and tried to stop the new club from forming however, when it was all said and done, members of the new club decided to include both street cars AND dragsters. The Vernon Street Machines and Classics Association was formed.

The first event was in 1990 and featured a car show and poker run with about 36 vehicles entered and 20 participants. Just six years later, there were over 1,000 vehicles and Vernon had become known as the place to go for a hot summer weekend of car-related fun in Texoma.

Over the years, Summer's Last Blast has grown in popularity and featured various events including burn-out contests, car shows, antique tractor shows, sock hops and concerts by a variety of artists popular back in the 50s. Many of Vernon High School's graduating classes have their reunions the weekend of the big cruise too.

Even the little ones like to get in on the action with the annual Power Wheels Race.

Fast forward to 2022.

Since then, the VSMCA has hosted the event on the second weekend of August, which has seen as many as 1600 entrants for the various events, about 15,000 spectators and been a featured story in several well-known automotive publications.

For more information about Summer's Last Blast, head over to their website and make plans to come to Vernon Saturday afternoon. Bring your lawn chairs, a cooler filled with cold drinks and find your spot to sit back, relax and relive some good ol' American heritage in the form of a classic car cruise.

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