With the start of the summer cruise season already under way, Eastpointe residents and businesses are gearing up for the 15th annual Cruisin’ Gratiot June 15.
Cruise day kicks off at 9 a.m. with a classic car show at the East Detroit High School parking lot. The annual kick-off prayer service starts at 11 a.m., and the opening parade is at 1 p.m., but cruise festivities start days early.
On June 10, Cloverleaf Restaurant, located at 2443 Gratiot, is hosting the teen idol semifinals — the youth semifinals were slated for June 3, after press time. The teen event opens to the public at 5 p.m. with a $5 admission charge, but people purchasing food can have the cost put toward their food bills.
Cloverleaf will also host cruise week’s first car show at 4 p.m. June 11. Sponsored by AEW Architects, classic car enthusiasts are invited to come out for a preview of what cruise day promises this year.
First State Bank, located at 16100 Nine Mile Road, at Gratiot, is sponsoring and hosting a show at 4 p.m. June 12. Villa Restaurant, located at 21311 Gratiot, is teaming with WOW Electronics for a show at 4 p.m. June 13. Finally, at 4 p.m. June 14, Sam’s Club is hosting a car show at the East Detroit High School parking lot at 15501 Couzens.
Festivities continue on cruise day with the youth, adult and teen idol finals — finalists are set to hit the stage at 3 p.m. — adults at the EDHS parking lot main stage, and youth and teens inside Cloverleaf. Carol Corrie has spent months planning the youth and teen singing competition and is excited about the new features she implemented for the cruise’s 15th year.
“The idol finalists are going to ride in the parade with their families,” Corrie said. “They’ll ride in convertibles and they will have their own little signs on the cars. We are also going to have a red carpet here. We are hoping to have some photographers here because the cars are going to pull up, and we’ll have the red carpet here and they’ll get out and walk the red carpet.”
Proceeds from the idol competition will benefit Champions For Life Kids Camp.
“It’s kids singing for kids,” Corrie said.
Cruise-goers will be treated to multiple options for entertainment, dining and shopping — most of which benefit charities. The Odd Fellows will host their annual cruise party with live music, food and a beer tent in the lot next to their building at 23322 Gratiot. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Odd Fellows.
Immanuel United Methodist Church, located at 23715 Gratiot, is hosting a pig roast and, in past years, has had a clown to entertain children. However, children’s entertainment was unable to be confirmed at press time.
The Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society Museum, located at 16600 Stephens, is featuring their latest exhibit on cruise day — a Vietnam-era Jeep ambulance with extensions to hold stretchers. General admission is $5, senior admission is $3 and the museum is offering a special family rate of $7.
“It’s a nice, air-conditioned break and we always have refreshments on hand,” said Councilwoman Wendy Richardson, who helps organize events at the museum.
Eastside Teen Outreach will be in attendance in their signature bright yellow shirts selling cruise merchandise and passing out information on their organization.
“We might have the kids walk up and down the street with some sort of fundraiser or with information for a fundraiser we are thinking about having the following weekend, because we are really in need of funding right now,” said ETO Director Deena Trocino. “We aren’t going to be able to keep doing what we are doing if we don’t get more funding. We just can’t afford it.”
The cruise will help with that — all organizations that volunteer at the cruise get a cut of the profits following the cruise.
“We have about 15 charities that we give to,” said cruise organizer Harvey Curley. “We don’t give them a ton of money each time, but we do give an amount to each one of the charities.”
“It’s never been about the money,” Corrie said. “We never did this to make a profit. From the beginning, we did this for the city — to bring people into the city and help the businesses here and with the proceeds we give to local charities.”
For more information on Cruisin’ Gratiot, visit www.cruisin-gratiot.com.