Royal OakAugust 15, 2012
Dream Cruise offers new 5k, thousands of classic cars
By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer
ROYAL OAK — In a few days, Woodward Avenue will be flooded with classic cars.
For the 18th year, the annual Woodward Dream Cruise will bring hundreds of thousands of people to the doorsteps of Royal Oak on Aug. 18.
For the most part, the recipe is expected to be the same with a few new touches here and there.
“The cruise has been riding along now for 17-18 years now. So many people come back,” Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison said. “The 5k run is the first new thing we’ve added. What you saw last year is pretty much what you’ll see this year.”
The new Cruise In Shoes 5k will give participants a chance to run through the heart of the Dream Cruise along Woodward, from 13 Mile to Normandy, early Aug. 18 before the festivities get too busy.
“We’re encouraging a lot of people to come out to the event and have some fun,” said Greg Rassel, Department of Public Works director in Royal Oak.
Rassel said they are accepting registration online beforehand and on site the morning of the race, but organizers are already halfway to their inaugural goal of 600 runners. The 7:30 a.m. run/walk starts and ends at Shrine High School, 3500 W. 13 Mile.
The new race is a welcome feature, but the real draw promises to be the sights seen on Woodward Avenue throughout the day.
“What makes our cruise different from others is anyone can cruise,” Ellison said. “You still have people riding up and down Woodward in a minivan. If your mom’s red station wagon is what you have, that’s what you cruise in. It’s about the cruising: getting out there and meeting people and sharing stories.”
Drawing roughly 1.5 million people and 50,000 classic cars to the area each year, the cruise has become a well-oiled machine since it began in 1995, when it drew about 250,000 attendees that first year.
“We get all kinds of people in town,” Ellison said. “The Dream Cruise crowd is a well-controlled, self-policing crowd. It’s just a bunch of people getting together, having a good time.”
Many businesses throughout the city and cruise route will offer paid parking, such as the main $10 lot at 13 Mile and Coolidge, but there will also be free parking and a free shuttle from Upton Park to Memorial Park, said Rassel, who also offered driving advice.
“We encourage cruisers to stay to the outside lane and through traffic to stay to the inside lane,” Rassel said. “We’re hoping for a fun family friendly event. Hopefully, the highlight to the weekend will be the good weather, opposed to last year.”
Although cruisers will likely be driving their classic vehicles throughout the weekend, the cruise will officially travel up and down Woodward from Detroit to Pontiac from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday with the headquarters at Duggan’s, 31501 Woodward Ave. Rassel said portable bathrooms and concessions will be available throughout the cruise route for patrons watching from the sidewalks.
Cross streets will close at 10 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m. Saturday as cruisers clear the road for local traffic.
“At the end of the night, we shut down all the cross streets and divert them down the mile roads,” Ellison said. “We just try to keep them out of the neighborhoods, but they’re pretty good about that. Most have been here before.”
For more information, or to view a route map, visit www.woodwarddreamcruise.com/?page_id=23.
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