This weekend is one of the premier events of the year in Southeast Michigan – the 23rd annual Woodward Dream Cruise, billed as the world’s largest classic car event. It not a classic car show in the usual sense – it’s a street fair. More than one million people and up to 40,000 classic cars are expected to visit Woodward Avenue, between Pontiac, MI and Ferndale, MI. It’s big, it’s fun, and it’s FREE!
The Dream Cruise adds at least $237 million to the regional economy according to the Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau. At least a quarter of those attending are from outside SE Michigan.
Major events began earlier than ever this year, with Dodge and Fiat Chrysler’s day of amateur drag racing and other events at M1 Concourse in Pontiac on Aug. 12.
What kind of cars and trucks are you likely to see on Woodward Avenue this weekend? You’ll see the sort of classic cars and trucks that will never appear at the Concours type of car show, because those are trailered, not driven.
Hard-core cruising begins by the previous weekend, during evenings, though. By Saturday, many cruiser cars will be parked at the various retail business lots fronting the wide north-south avenue, between Ferndale and Birmingham, and again up in Pontiac to the north.
There are more parties in local neighborhoods scheduled for Saturday than at any other time during the year, including 4th of July and Super Bowl Sunday. And the fact is, although this is officially a one-day party, it has been going on unofficially for the previous week.
Ferndale, where the idea for the Dream Cruise began in 1995 as a fundraiser to build a soccer field, plans three days of events beginning Thursday, Aug. 17. The agenda includes a live broadcast of Detroit Public TV’s “Dream Cruise Road Show;” vintage police, fire and military vehicles; TV and movie cars including the Batmobile, Munster Koach and Monkeemobile; monster trucks; Mustangs of all eras; and a free outdoor screening of the 1984 Bill Murray-Dan Aykroyd movie “Ghostbusters.”
Of course, events are scheduled in the other cities along Woodward Avenue – Pleasant Ridge, Huntington Woods, Royal Oak, Berkley, Birmingham and Pontiac. These include car parades, outdoor classic movie screenings, and other events/venues to suit visitors of all ages. Younger cruise-goers will love special pop-up events, like the Kids’ Inflatable Zone in Berkley, which will be open from 6 – 9 p.m. on cruise day.
Other special attractions, like the Rock’n Live Entertainment Stage in Ferndale and the Tri-Community Coalition Street Dance in Berkley make Friday’s Dream Cruise a can’t miss Oakland County event. DREAM CRUISE EVENTS
The annual Cruise has expanded to include the length of Woodward Ave from Ferndale (at the city border with Detroit) to Pontiac, a distance of 16 miles, encompassing seven communities.
The car companies and automotive suppliers have eventually taken up sponsorship, with official presence along the route. All along the roadway beautiful classic cars are parked where passers-by can look and even touch. Thousands of other cars are cruising the 8-lane boulevard from one end to the other, which is open for general traffic throughout the event, although they ask that the curb lanes be reserved for the classics. New traffic restrictions on commercial vehicles and other large vehicles go into effect this year.
While most events are free to the public, there are special fund-raising parties, as well as sales of official merchandise, that keeps the Cruise rolling from year to year.
It’s quite a spectacle!
(Information Courtesy of the Oakland County Blog)
Woodward Avenue is hallowed ground for car enthusiasts. Known as “Detroit’s Main Street,” the avenue spans Metro Detroit: extending from Detroit to Pontiac. Woodward takes its name from judge Augustus Woodward, who planned Detroit’s reconstruction following the Detroit Fire of 1805.
Originally paved with logs and sand, Woodward Avenue received the first mile of concrete paving in the United States in 1909 and was paved entirely in 1916. The availability of a wide, paved thoroughfare coaxed young drivers out of their garages and onto the road. By the late 1950’s Woodward had become a regular site for street racing and cruising.
Woodward’s pedigree has received broad recognition in the years since it became a cruising destination. The Federal Highway Administration recognizes the road as the Automotive Heritage Trail. The National Scenic Byways Program has also named Woodward an All-American Road.