The Scene

Cruise nights in McHenry County, with McHenry Green Street’s returning with new operators

Green Street Cruise Night Halloween Special on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.

McHenry’s Green Street Cruise Night was set to drive off into the sunset after its organizer posted on Facebook late last year, saying he was moving on and the downtown McHenry summer event was ending.

That was until Bill Hobson, McHenry’s parks and recreation director, reached out to Aaron Dullum at The Vixen. Hobson, Dullum said, asked him to continue coordinating the event, held every Monday night over the summer for the past 15 years in the city parking lot on Green Street.

“It will be what everybody is looking for – an old-school cruise night hanging out with their vehicles,” Dullum said of the weekly car-enthusiast meetup.

The new – but familiar – cruise nights are set to begin at 5 p.m. Monday, June 3, and continue on Mondays through the end of August. If there is more than a 30% chance of rain the cruise night would be canceled, Dullum said.

The Green Street event is not the only summer cruise night in the area. On Tuesdays, the McHenry Moose Lodge holds Cruise the Moose beginning at 5 p.m. in its parking lot. The Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce hosts its night from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the village’s downtown. The first night for Cary Cruise Night’s 26th season is set for June 5 and is returning to downtown after last summer’s construction.

In fact, there is a cruise night held somewhere in the McHenry County area nearly every weekday in the summer.

Unlike car shows, which tend to be stand-alone events with prizes in different categories, cruise nights are often more about gear-heads and automotive fans hanging out with their cars.

The Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce has hosted Cary Cruise Night for 26 years, said Chamber events coordinator Cathy Moran. Last summer the event was moved to St. Peter and Paul Church while Main Street was under construction, but returns to Main this year.

The event draws 80 to 100 cars each Wednesday, Moran said, and 500 to 1,000 people. Main Street also falls within Cary’s social district, so open alcohol containers purchased at participating restaurants are allowed.

“It is a great event that brings together businesses and the community. It showcases our businesses as well,” Moran said.

McHenry having its cruise night on Mondays is good for business which can typically be slower in the summer, Hobson said.

“Cruise nights are an excellent opportunity to create visitors and exposure to our downtown area,” Hobson said in a text message to the Northwest Herald. “We believe this exposure creates return visits outside of the cruise nights.”

Dullum agreed.

“On Monday nights in McHenry, there is not a ton going on. But with the Riverwalk ... it helps bring people out that way on Monday nights for the car show.”

In the past, food trucks also were part of the Green Street event, Dullum said. This year, Dullum and the other restaurant owners working with him want to bring the cruise night participants into the restaurants or bring the food to them. “We have talked to a couple of the restaurants about bringing food ... with free delivery” to the parking lot, Dullum said.

The McHenry Moose Lodge has been doing Cruise the Moose for the past seven years, said Bruce Preston. With its sponsorships for the night, the weekly event raises money for the Lodge’s charitable giving programs.

“Whether you like cars or not, support the Moose with what we do with the proceeds, helping organizations in the community,” Preston said.

Cruise Nights in the McHenry County area:


Green Street Cruise Night, 5 p.m., 1225 N. Green St., McHenry

Motor Mondays, 5 p.m., third Monday of the month, The Depot, 319 N. River St., East Dundee


Cruise the Moose, 5 p.m., 3535 N. Richmond Road, Johnsburg

Broken Oar Cruise Nights, 4 p.m., Broken Oar Restaurant, 614 Rawson Bridge Road, Cary

Wauconda Cruise Night, 5 p.m., third Tuesday of the month, Route 176 at West Mill St., Wauconda


Cary Cruise Night, 6 p.m., 122 W. Main St., Cary

Park on Park Cruise Night, 4 p.m., second Wednesday of the month, Park and Seymour streets, Mundelein


Huntley Cruise Nights, 5 p.m., every other week June 4 through Sept. 24, Rookies All American Pub & Grill, 12220 Princeton Drive, Huntley


Richmond Cruise Night, 4 p.m., Dog N Suds Drive-In, 11015 Route 12, Richmond

Janelle Walker

Janelle Walker

Originally from North Dakota, Janelle covered the suburbs and collar counties for nearly 20 years before taking a career break to work in content marketing. She is excited to be back in the newsroom.