The Schwartzes love classic cars, but they don't own one. They don't have to: they've seen more cars than Henry Ford since they've been sponsoring a classic car show in downtown Woodbridge for 15 years.
The 'Downtown Cruise', as the Schwartzes call it, draw upwards of 300 automotive entries, including everything from Ford's Model T jalopies to late model roadsters.
The cars park diagonally on Main St., filling every spot from Amboy Ave. to Fulton St., and then the car owners park their precious autos in an overflow lot.
It's a popular family night, Sherri Schwartz says, as families stroll up and down, looking under hoods and peering inside the vehicles, many of which are meticulously restored, and often improved far beyond what they were when new.
"Young people and old people bond over the cars. Now there's a common interest as they go up and down, looking at all the workmanship" said Sherri. "It puts smiles on everyone's faces."
The next car exposition will be on July 20 from 6 to 9 pm. It will be a special event to commemorate the 15th year the Downtown Cruise has been on Main St.
For the fourth year, a local Boy Scout troop will parade down Main St. carrying the American flag while Morissa Schwartz, Sherri's talented daughter, will sing the National Anthem.
"You watch these young boys grow up, and when they do this, it brings tears to your eyes. They're our future," Sherri said.
The Schwartzes are careful to not call the program a 'car show.' That's because that phrase entails a formal points system and entry fees, both of which Sherri Schwartz eschews.
"There's no fee. This is Woodbridge, and we're nice," Sherri laughed. "Entrants come in, fill out a registration form, and they become a member."
There cars are judged in various categories, and trophies are given out. Twenty six trophies will be awarded at the next show. The Schwartzes have given out "over a thousand" trophies in the decade and a half since the Downtown Cruise show started. The cost of the trophies is borne by local businesses.
There are 10 judges, who rotate for every show. "We keep it kind of secretive so people don't try to sway them," Sherri Schwartz said. "We get different opinions. Everyone from car people to doctors, businessmen, and others have been judges."
"I've picked a car or two myself," she laughed.
The judges' decisions are counted at , the Main St. store the Schwartzes run.
Not everyone who owns a classic car submits an entry for a trophy. "Not everyone wants to be judged. They just bring their car to show off the work they've done, and so people can enjoy it," Sherri said.
The Downtown Cruise brings lots of business to Main St. merchants, many of whom stay open for the foot traffic all the onlookers bring. There is a DJ spinning tunes, and an Italian ice cart, among other vendors. San Remo is a favorite stop on Main St. during the show for people who run in for a slice of pizza.
"We're not open, though. We close to count the votes," Sherri said.