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A real driving force 

It’s fun to sit across a table from someone as passionate as Carol Dolan is about cars, the monthly Cruisin’ in the Rock and next week’s Sonic Big Cruisefest. Her excitement just grips you and tells you that if you’re not there, you will be missing out on a great time.

Dolan is a self-described “motorhead” originally from Nebraska who, in her day job, is assistant to Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau director Dan O’Byrne. She and her husband took their love of motorsports and all-things cars and eight years ago created Cruisin’ in the Rock, which brings car owners and fans from all over for a once-a-month get-together at the River Market pavilion, Riverfront park and the amphitheater.

“Cars aren’t just a guy thing anymore,” Dolan said. “They cross gender lines and generation lines.”

The monthly car shows led to Big Cruisefest, which debuted two Octobers ago. The third one is Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13-14, and all ages are going to love it. Carol had me ready to dress our young one in his Halloween superhero suit (Ninja Turtle) and participate in Saturday’s noon Kid’s Corral parade in the park. Each child gets a goodie bag and participation ribbon.

The big show, with free admission, will have hundreds of classic cars, trucks and motorcycles from all over the country, plus “Stars, Cars and More,” featuring Duke Days — as in “The Dukes of Hazzard.” An unbelievable array of “General Lee” cars, actor John Schneider (the original Bo Duke) and more are part of the show. Schneider originally was going to premiere his movie “Collier and Company” in Memphis, but decided after learning about the success of Big Cruisefest to open it here at Robinson Center Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 13 (tickets are $12.50 and benefit the Arkansas Chapter of Little People of America).

Other stars from the “Dukes of Hazzard,” driving stuntmen, precision driver Sally Eubanks, and “General Lee” mastermind Tom Sarmento will be on hand. Gates open at 9 a.m. both days, and the fun wraps up around 6 p.m. Saturday. Those wanting to bring cars can register for $30 in advance. Call Dolan at 370-3201, or visit www.bigcruisefest.com for more information.

You can almost hear the engines revving now.

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