Downtown New Bedford will be swarmed with people rambling among vintage, classic and antique cars for the return of Joe Jesus' '50s Night this summer.

A date has now been selected, and '50s Night is slated to take place on Thursday, July 21 – the third Thursday in July, just as Joe Jesus always planned it. The rain date is July 28.

A small but productive group met Tuesday evening to get working on reviving one of New Bedford's signature events. Jesus's granddaughter Dawn Mahler, former City Council candidate Scott Pemberton and I got together with two vintage car clubs Tuesday evening, deciding on a definite date and rain date, and structuring the rest of the plans, from entertainment and security to permits, insurance, vendors and food trucks.

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Mahler knows putting on an event this large takes a lot of work and coordination. She's also very much aware of honoring her grandfather's memory by keeping it free and open to all.

"'50s Night was an event that my grandfather looked forward to each and every year. This was an event that he created for the city, one where people could come together and reminisce on the '50s music, cars, friendship and family," she said. "The pandemic caused us to put this event on hold, and without funding, we uncertain about this year. That all changed with the generous gift from an anonymous donor."

A New Bedford woman stepped forward last week and pledged $10,000 to help fund the return of '50s Night. During the meeting on Tuesday, everyone spoke briefly with the donor and we all expressed our appreciation for her generosity.

"Somewhere up in heaven, Joe Jesus is smiling down from heaven because of your wonderful donation," Pemberton said.

Mahler echoed his sentiments.

"On behalf of my grandfather, thank you for your donation, and for keeping his memory alive by making this event happen," she said.

Follow the official Joe Jesus's '50s Night Facebook page for the latest developments, and get ready to rock and roll this July 21.

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