Cochran Weekend is back on

Published 9:21 am Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eddie Cochran Weekend in Albert Lea will go on.

Thanks to a collaboration of multiple organizations and volunteers, the weekend for car enthusiasts will continue for its 26th year — just with a few changes and simplifications.

Instead of one organizer hosting a majority of the events — as was the case with former organizer the Low Bucks Car Club — several groups are now involved to divide up responsibilities and simplify the events.

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“It is sort of a community coming together to keep it going,” said one organizer, Pat Mulso, executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum.

The museum houses memorabilia of the rock ’n’ roll musician, an Albert Lea native, in a permanent exhibit and has rights to use Cochran’s name for the weekend.

Mulso and fellow organizer Terry Perkins said many of the events aim to focus around the museum and its goal to raise money for a building expansion. Scholarships are to be given out from money raised during a silent auction, Perkins noted.

Events are set to kick off with the traditional Friday night social on June 8 sponsored by the Country Inn & Suites and the Green Mill Restaurant. Trophies will be awarded as in years past.

On the Saturday of the weekend — June 9 — there will be the swap meet and car show. Participants will pay a $10 entry fee, and the public will pay $2 admission.

Instead of the cars being judged in more than 40 classes as in previous years, this year, there will be awards given out based on participants’ favorites.

Perkins said there will be other special awards handed out, such as the mayor’s choice and awards by various service clubs.

“We’re trying to make it so there’s more involvement by more in the city,” he said.

The goal of the entire weekend, he said, is to get back to the intent of enjoying the hobby of classic cars.

Representatives from the Old Car Co. will be helping out as well.

A lineup and social at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds are set for that Saturday with a cruise beginning and ending there as well.

Instead of a 26-mile cruise, this year’s cruise is schedule for about 12 miles and is set to go mainly through Albert Lea, Perkins said.

That evening, there likely will be entertainment at the Grandstand organized by the museum, with money raised going to support the building expansion.

“This will be a great way to help the museum and its expansion,” said Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Susie Petersen.

Petersen said also happening that Saturday will be the conclusion of a motorcycle rally, which will be ending at the fairgrounds.

Having the two events at the same time should be exciting, she said.

On Sunday, a rock ’n’ roll worship service is slated for the United Methodist Church.

“We’re excited to keep this as an annual event,” Petersen said. “Our hope is to grow it, and I think we will.”

Mulso said Cochran’s family is excited the community is continuing the weekend.

People can expect to hear more about the plans in the coming weeks, with mailers being sent out to last year’s participants, Perkins added.

Cochran, who was born in Albert Lea on Oct. 3, 1938, started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old and toured as a country music performer with the Cochran Brothers after his family moved to California.

He made the move to rock ’n’ roll with his hit “Sitting on the Balcony,” in 1957, selling more than 1 million copies.

Other Cochran hits include “Summertime Blues,” “C’mon Everybody,” “Something Else,” and “Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie.”

He died on Easter Sunday in 1960 when the cab taking him to Heathrow Airport crashed.