The Motor City hosts the world's largest one-day automotive event

DETROIT (Sep 2, 2010) - Even a morning of rain couldn't dampen the spirits of car buffs at the 16th annual Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit on August 21.

  • The image of cars in a showroom

DETROIT (Sep 2, 2010)

Even a morning of rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of car buffs at the 16th annual Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit on August 21.

For those who have never been to this automotive extravaganza, the best description I can come up with is it’s the “ultimate celebration of the automobile.”

And, there’s no better place than the Motor City to host an event that brings together the world’s largest congregation of antique, special interest and exotic vehicles in any one place at the same time.

Because there is no admission charge and participants come and go as they please, there is no way to get an exact count on the number of vehicles or the size of the crowd.

However, best estimates peg the vehicle count at 40,000 to 50,000 during the day-long event and crowd sizes range from one to 1.5 million people.

While the Dream Cruise is officially held on the third Saturday in August, it is really a week-long automotive love-in.

Cruisers start arriving the weekend before and on the evenings leading up to the Saturday Dream Cruise, Woodward Avenue traffic becomes bumper to bumper and crowds line the sidewalks to view the action.

Because of the traffic volume that results, local police sometimes close the street at 9 or 10 p.m. to keep things under control.

The Dream Cruise is also unique in that drivers do actually get to do some cruising along famed Woodward Avenue from Pontiac in the north to Ferndale in the south, through nine communities in the Detroit suburbs. For the Dream Cruise, these communities host a variety of family events and car shows.

Woodward Avenue is four lanes in each direction through this part of Detroit so in effect, the Dream Cruise is a 25-kilometre loop with the inner two lanes devoted mainly to cruisers from morning until night.

Virtually all stores and businesses except restaurants and gas stations along the cruise route close shop for the day (many rent their parking lots out to car clubs and businesses who set up tables, hire bands and caterers and invite their best clients to watch the action).

Being so close to Canada, thousands of Canadians, mainly from Ontario, arrive for the event. Our hotel parking lot featured a car show of its own with Chevelles, Camaros and ‘Cudas from the 1960s joining the Shelby Cobra Mustangs and Mustang GTs from the current era.

That’s what makes the Dream Cruise so interesting. You get a mix of the old and new, collectible and exotic. Last year the Big Three manufacturers were absent due to the downturn in the auto industry.

This year they were back in force with huge displays showcasing their new products and examples of models from the past. In the community of Ferndale, for example, was Mustang Alley, featuring more than 500 Mustangs of all vintages.

Ford was front and centre there with a big display of what’s new on their front, including the Boss 302 Mustang, which will be unveiled shortly as a 2012 model. Similarly, GM and Chrysler had displays of their own in other areas along the cruise route.

Rain or no rain, Woodward is an event that is so unique that any car lover should make a point of attending, at least once.

As a friend of mine commented, “there are more cars than we ever saw “back in the day”. Almost every Mopar is a Hemi, every Mustang a Shelby and every Chevy an SS.”

It doesn’t get much better than that.

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