Ross visit, new events top Cochran weekend

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2002

It’s Eddie Cochran time once again, and this year another Albert Lea native will be honored along with the musical legend.

Marion Ross, who lived in Albert Lea through her teen years, will leave her handprints in cement as part of a new 1950s exhibit for the Freeborn County Historical Society. Ross is best known for her role on as Mrs. Cunningham on the sitcom &uot;Happy Days.&uot; The ceremony began at 11 a.m. today at the county museum. Ross will also be co-hosting the opening of Austin’s Spam museum later in the week.

The new exhibit will primarily feature Ross and Cochran memorabilia and photos of their youth and families in Albert Lea.

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Eddie Cochran was born in Albert Lea in 1938 and he soon taught himself to play the guitar. After moving to California as a teenager, he became an up-and-coming music star of the ’50s, until his untimely death on Easter Sunday, 1960, because of a car accident in England. His music has been noted as an influence on other groups from the Beatles to Rod Stewart to Billy Idol.

Changes to this year’s celebration include a revised car-cruise route, where dozens of classic cars parade through the streets, and new musical performances. This year’s route begins and ends at the county fairgrounds, traveling on Fountain Street, Broadway, Townhall Road, Highway 13, County Road 101, and Bath Road back into Albert Lea.

Playing early afternoon Saturday is a 12-year-old Buddy Holly impersonator, Riche Lee. The Des Moines, Iowa boy has been mimicking Holly for years, and in the last year has expanded his act by learning to play the guitar. Albert Lea natives LD Cruiser and the Tones are set to headline the Saturday night dance at the fairgrounds from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.

The historical society museum will be open all weekend for a $2 admission charge.

Here’s a look at the events planned for Cochran weekend:

Friday, June 14

Last year more than 100 cars participated in the cruise-in social at Country Inn and Suites. Awards for the car traveling from the furthest distance, the oldest car, and a people’s choice award will be given out. There will be a meal catered by Hy-Vee, costing $3 a plate. This year’s event takes place from 6-9 p.m.

Saturday, June 15

Saturday a full day of activities is scheduled at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds. A pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon made by Chris Cakes &045; chefs who specialize in tossing flapjacks from the griddle onto seated customer’s plates &045; opens the day. The price is $4 for adults and $3.50 for kids 12 and under. A portion of the proceeds are going to support the Eddie Cochran Scholarship Fund. Maps for the city-wide rummage sale, also starting at 8 a.m., are available at the Historical Society Museum or the Chamber of Commerce.

A two-day craft sale begins in the Floral Hall at the Fairgrounds and runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Entertainment in the afternoon includes an obstacle course and children’s sawdust money pit. The Historical Museum will be open from 1 to 5 p.m., root beer floats and popcorn will be for sale. Just step through the big &uot;45&uot; record into the museum grounds.

The Low Bucks Car Cruise will gather at the fairgrounds for a line-up and social starting at 4 p.m. The cruise is set to start at 6:30 p.m. Last year more than 400 cars participated in the cruise. Admission to the dance at 8 p.m. featuring &uot;LD Cruiser and The Tones&uot; is $3 a person, $5 a couple. Food, commemorative T-shirts and posters will be available for purchase.

The Pelican Breeze is hosting a ’50s cruise starting at 6 p.m., including 50’s karaoke. The cruise costs $10, and people need to call 383-2630 for reservations by noon on Saturday.

Sunday, June 16

Activities start with a non-denominational church service at 10 a.m. at the fairgrounds. The 16th-annual Low Bucks car show and swap meet lasts most of the day, with judging in 40 categories. Special trophies and door prizes will be awarded, along with a model car show. Half of the car show proceeds will be donated to the Eddie Cochran scholarship fund.