IMPERIAL – Imperial Market Days continued its weekend-long festivities in conjunction with the Sunrunners Car Club at Eager Park both on Friday evening at the Market Days event and Saturday, where the restored, one-of-a-kind vehicles were on full display.
Families and car enthusiasts roamed the park, admiring the unique cars of all makes and models, while vendors lined the streets behind the cars, offering mostly food, drinks, and homemade crafts.
The event ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and had a special twist with the presence of the Cub Scouts of America who facilitated an official Pinewood Derby Competition, in which kids of all ages participated.
Many of the vendors who were present at Friday’s Imperial Market Days also set up booths for this event, offering everything from t-shirts, hand-made signs and trinkets, and locally sourced honey. Kids and parents enjoyed the event while munching on kettle corn, funnel cakes, and pizza, and sipping on Squeezer’s lemonade.
Multiple car clubs were present, as members proudly displayed their personal vehicles. The Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Club attended showcasing four personal motorcycles.
The Blue Knights is a nationwide motorcycle club comprised of law enforcement members. There is one chapter located in the Imperial Valley made up of both active and retired law enforcement officers with over 60 members. The group offers two scholarships to local students pursuing a career in law enforcement through Imperial Valley College (IVC).
The group’s mission is to provide support to local charities, according to local Blue Knights member Alex Leyva. Leyva has worked in Customs and Border Protection in the Imperial Valley for over 26 years, and is a longtime member of the Blue Knights.
The group is celebrating its 20th year in the Valley, and although its primary focus lies with the Police Department, it includes members from every agency in the Valley, including the U.S. Border Patrol, fire departments, the California Highway Patrol, the Navy base, and Customs and Border Protection, Leyva said. A prerequisite to join is that each member must not only belong to an enforcement agency, but must be authorized to carry a firearm and/or be able to make arrests, Leyva said. The Imperial Valley chapter has members as far as Yuma, he added.
For every ten members who join, the group includes one honorary member – a citizen and motorcycle enthusiast who is in good standing in the community. These civilians are presented before the board, and must be voted in, Leyva said. Juan Garza, a cable technician for Spectrum, has been an honorary member for five years, and fully supports the mission and objective of the Blue Knights organization.
“Our club is family-oriented,” Garza said.
“Our kids go with us wherever we are, and to whatever events we attend,” Leyva added. “We bring our kids and grandkids, and take our wives on [motorcycle] runs with us,” he said.
The group attends most car shows in the Valley, such as the Sunrunners show. “We try to support all the local car clubs,” Leyva said.