DETROIT, MI: Engines revved, tires squealed and the sound of roaring exhaust systems reverberated for miles around.
For some residents of Detroit near Woodward Ave., it’s a day to hide away in their homes or get out of town.
But for others, the Woodward Dream Cruise on the third Saturday in August is a way to celebrate all things automotive.
One has to experience the Dream Cruise to really appreciate it.
Yes, it is an automotive cruise — the biggest in the world we’ve been told — with as many as 50,000 classic, exotic and just plain wild vehicles cruising a section of Woodward Ave., a street that is to Detroit what Yonge Street is to Toronto.
But it’s much more than just a cruise. It is a celebration of the automobile on Woodward that is part of US Hwy. 1 — America’s first highway. You’d be hard pressed to find a more appropriate place to hold an event such as this.
So while the Dream Cruise is a cruise in the true sense of the word, so much more goes into it than just the vehicles that drive the 16-mile loop (eight miles up and eight miles back) through nine communities in the northern suburbs of Detroit from Pontiac in the north to Ferndale in the south.
In early morning, traffic moves freely and the crowds are smaller, but as the day wears on, Woodward becomes a major traffic jam as vehicles slowly make their way around all or part of the loop before pulling over to do some sightseeing of their own.
There are no fees to participate in the cruise, however those not driving a classic, exotic or special interest vehicle are asked to stay out of the two right lanes nearest the curb, which will be lined with spectators as far as the eye can see.
The major North American manufacturers like Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have a major presence with huge displays of new and classic vehicles.
In fact, Ford was back in a big way this year as the major auto sponsor of the cruise. On display was the original 1964 and a half Mustang, the 10-millionth Mustang ever built and the original 1968 Mustang from the movie Bullitt.
But more than that, the Dream Cruise is one giant street party with all nine communities hosting local events, fundraisers and car shows for the estimated 1.5 million people who attend each year.
This year marked the 24th anniversary of the Dream Cruise that started as a small fundraiser for a soccer field. It has grown to point where it is now Michigan’s biggest public event and is run by a non-profit corporation called WDC Inc.
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