Oakland County communities are preparing to host the Woodward Dream Cruise this Saturday. Organizers say the event draws more than a million people and is the largest car cruising event in North America.
The classic car event glorifies the era of the 1950s and ’60s when teenagers showed off their vehicles at drive-in restaurants along Woodward Avenue in Oakland County. Michael Lary, the president of the Woodward Dream Cruise, says as in years past this year’s route will run from Ferndale to Pontiac but will not go through Detroit.
“If the city of Detroit wanted to be a part of this, we are more than welcome and open minded to the conversation. It’s really up to them.”
An unaffiliated event – known as Cruisin’ The D – will take place on Friday and Saturday. It will feature classic cars and motorcycles and run along Woodward between Six and Seven Mile Roads in Detroit.
Lary says the first Dream Cruise (which was actually called the Woodward Dream Car Show) was organized by a Ferndale resident Nelson House in 1995 to raise money to buy a soccer field.
“And so he went to City Council, he got the support, he got the volunteers … And since 1995, it’s grown into the largest car cruising event in North America.”
Lary says the event draws a diverse crowd of more than a million people and 40,000 classic cars each year.
“You have your passionate believers in the auto industry, you have the car enthusiast, but then you also have the people that have stories they want to share with their grandkids about their first car,” he says.
The cruise has drawn its share of critics who have raised concerns of traffic congestion and the focus on a form of transportation that’s not the most sustainable. Lary says they are aware of the environmental impact, but the million people, both local and out-of-towners alike, who come out every year “define whether or not this event happens.”
The cruise kicks off Friday with events across multiple communities, including the CruiseFest Classic Car Parade in Berkley, car shows in Royal Oak and Pontiac, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. On Saturday, the day starts with the eighth annual Cruise in Shoes run/walk on Yorba Linda Boulevard where participants will continue on through the streets of Royal Oak. Other events include the Birmingham Cruise Classic Car Show, Mustang Alley in Ferndale and live entertainment in Pleasant Ridge. For a complete list of events, go to the Dream Cruise’s website.