Hot SUMMER nights

BY Larry D'Argis. Aug 12 04:00 am

Whether you call it hot August nights or the dog days of summer — August on the Prairies typically offers great weather for outdoor activities. Last Sunday with mild temperatures and not a cloud in the sky, the crowd came out in droves for Sunday Night Cruise Nite at the Pony Corral Restaurant and Bar, located at the Grant Park Shopping Centre on the corner of Grant Avenue and Wilton Street. Pony Corral owner Peter Ginakes is a longtime lover of all things automotive and has been welcoming the car community to his restaurants since 1986.

Event sponsors include Rondex, Piston Ring Service, BIG 97.5, CJOB, Coors, Coca-Cola and Willy’s Garage. In addition to all the great classic and special-interest vehicles on display there’s also onsite entertainment and fabulous prizes given away in both the weekly and final summer draws. With tasty burgers and hot-dogs available from the Pony’s food cart, aptly modelled after a Ford Model T, and great meals on the patio or inside the restaurant, there’s always plenty of options to take care of those hunger pangs.

For the past 10 years the Pony Corral has teamed up with the Fabulous 50’s Ford Club of Manitoba to manage the parking lot directly in front of the restaurant — where featured auto clubs showcase their member’s vehicles each week. In addition to the featured weekly guest car club member vehicles prominently displayed up front, there is also reserved parking for more than 300 classic and special-interest vehicles in Grant Park’s west parking lot. Fabulous 50’s Ford Club president Albert Lannoo, along with his wife and club treasurer, Betty, and fellow Fabulous 50’s club members, do a great job managing the lot under the guidance of Ginakes and restaurant manager Helen Koke.

Last Sunday, the Red River Region of the Porsche Club of America took centre stage with no less than 40 brilliantly coloured examples on display. Club founder and membership chair, Malcolm Hinds, was there with his striking 2000 Porsche 911 Carerra 2 Cabriolet. “The club has grown to 200 members, an increase of 100 per cent since 2009,” said Hinds. What’s also grown, is the number of Porsche owners in Manitoba. In 2009 there was 453 Porsche vehicles registered — today those numbers total more than 800. With a wealth of knowledge available and a passion for the Porsche marque, the club is actively seeking new members. For those owners interested in joining the club, a simple email to will get you hooked up.

A stroll through the parking lot showed there was no shortage of representation from Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and many other makes — as well as a nice variety of great looking motorcycles. Getting together and enjoying the automotive hobby is a terrific summer tradition in Manitoba and the Pony Corral is the perfect spot to enjoy everything the automobile hobby has to offer. On Sunday the Manitoba Mustang and Ford Association is the Pony’s featured guest.

For the Lannoos and other Fabulous 50’s Ford Club members, it’s crunch time as they put the finishing touches on plans and continue selling dance tickets for the club’s upcoming 22nd annual Flashback Weekend, which kicks off Friday, Sept. 9, with a sockhop dance at the Transcona Country Club, featuring live band the Twilights. On Saturday afternoon there’s a scenic cruise to the Half Moon Drive In, just north of Lockport. The weekend ends with a huge and free car show held in the south lot of the Garden City Shopping Centre. The car show will feature another live band, Russell Lee. The event is also loaded with awards, raffles and draws in support of the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation. For more information, check out

Sunday Night Cruise Nite at the Pony Corral runs every Sunday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Sept. 25, with a different featured car club each week.

There are also many other great automotive-related shows and events in Manitoba to choose from throughout the remainder of summer and into fall. Most are listed in the Manitoba Association of Automobile Clubs guide and can be accessed online at

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