Mustang Alley will be returning to Nine Mile Road in Ferndale Aug. 21.

Mustang Alley will be returning to Nine Mile Road in Ferndale Aug. 21.

File photo by Donna Agusti

Cities ready to bring back Dream Cruise events

By: Mike Koury | Metro | Published August 9, 2021


METRO DETROIT — After the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation last year, the Woodward Dream Cruise is returning to metro Detroit this month.

The Woodward Dream Cruise will take place Saturday, Aug. 21, across the 21.5-mile stretch of road from Detroit to Pontiac. The mega-celebration also will return to the cities along the avenue, who will hold their own respective events.

Ferndale, where the Dream Cruise began in 1995, will hold a two-day festival Aug 20-21 across both East Nine Mile Road and West Nine Mile Road.

On Friday, Aug. 20, East Nine Mile will showcase fire, police and EMS vehicles in the 20th annual Ferndale Emergency Vehicle Show from 1 to 7 p.m. In the same time frame on West Nine Mile, Ferndale will introduce a new event: the Antique Auto Show, which features Ford Model T and Model A vehicles from the past, in addition to other classic makes and models of cars.

Friday also will be home to the official Woodward Dream Cruise ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m., which will be followed by the Lights and Sirens Cruise at 5:30 p.m. The parade will start at Woodward Avenue and East Nine Mile, continue to 11 Mile Road, and travel back.

On Dream Cruise Saturday, East and West Nine Mile road, once again, will host the 22nd annual Mustang Alley and more than 650 Ford Mustangs. There also will be live entertainment and performances on Nine Mile from American Band, Motown-tribute band City Beat, The Favorites, Crewsade, Full Tilt, the Bob Seger tribute band Lookin’ Back, Journey tribute band Infinity & Beyond, Beatles tribute band Shout!, and Surf Zup.

The biggest change to Ferndale’s Dream Cruise events compared to years past is that the weekend went from three days to two. Ferndale Director of Special Events and Woodward Dream Cruise Committee President Michael Lary said having the extra day provided a “smooth sail” for the city to get ready for the busy Friday and Saturday. At the same time, he said, street closures have an effect not only on traffic, but local businesses.

“So we might as well just try to condense it down to two rather than three days and see how that goes,” explained Lary. “It will put a little pressure on getting set up sooner and quicker, but that’s OK. In the past, we used to do Friday, Saturday and Sunday … so it’s not like we’ve never had that pressure on Friday to get things up and running at a reasonable time.”

More information about Ferndale’s events can be found at

In nearby Berkley, the city will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of CruiseFest and its Classic Car Parade.

Hundreds of classic vehicles will make their way down 12 Mile Road starting at 6:30 p.m. The parade will begin at Woodward Avenue and continue to Greenfield Road. After the parade ends, a concert and outdoor party will be held on Robina Avenue. Also after the parade, there will be an outdoor movie showing of “Grease” in front of The Neighbor’s Shoppe at 2833 12 Mile Road.

Parks and Recreation Director and Woodward Dream Cruise Committee Vice President Theresa McArleton said she’s really excited about CruiseFest’s return.

“More than anything, we’re just excited because we know the community and the people who participate are excited,” she said. “That’s really what our goal is. So it feels nice to be able to offer this event that — clearly last year we missed the 25th (anniversary) — and so this year we’re kind of celebrating that and someone made the comment that they feel like it’s gonna be an even better and happier event just because so much was missed last year. I think we’re all really looking forward to it.”

More information about Berkley’s events can be found at

Both Berkley and Ferndale had to organize the weekend being mindful that the ongoing pandemic could force major changes — even a cancellation — to the events.

Lary said Ferndale used its current understanding that outside activities are the safest to hold while planning, but they also decided to cancel their kids play zone, which usually has areas for face painting and bounce houses.

“That’s because of the close contact,” he said. “We felt more comfortable being responsible on that measure. That’s the one thing that has changed for this year.”

McArleton said they tried to be aware of where COVID was going in the last several months while the city planned the event, as they aimed to monitor what was happening and make the best decisions along the way.

“We made decisions in the same time frame for the most part, but (we always knew) this could change, this could suddenly not make sense and we would have to go a different direction,” she said. “I think a lot of the same decisions in the end were made, but as we went along, we were very aware of where we were at in the city and the county in relation to COVID.”

Royal Oak
In Royal Oak, the Performance Park Classic Car Show will take place at Memorial Park from noon to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21. Memorial Park is located at 31050 Woodward Ave., near 13 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway.

“The classic car show will feature cars from all over, and there will probably be 600 cars at Memorial Park,” said John Fedele, superintendent of recreation for the city of Royal Oak and treasurer of the Woodward Dream Cruise Committee. “It’s free for all patrons.”

The official Woodward Dream Cruise merchandise tent, vendors, a food court and a WOMC broadcast tower will also be set up in Memorial Park.

The Cruise In Shoes 5K Fun Run/Walk will kick off Woodward Dream Cruise festivities Aug. 21. The event starts at 8 a.m. with a route along Woodward Avenue, several Royal Oak neighborhoods and a return to finish at Shrine High School.

To register online, visit or sign up on the day of the event at Royal Oak Shrine High School, 3500 W. 13 Mile Road, west of Woodward Avenue.

The Birmingham Cruise Classic Car Show will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to the cars, there will be sponsor exhibits, food and more. Find more information at Official Dream Cruise merchandise will be for sale, and WXYZ-TV will broadcast from the city, as will Detroit classic hits radio station WOMC.

Pontiac will host the Pontiac Classic Car Show from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20, and Saturday, Aug. 21. To register for the show, email Official Woodward Dream Cruise merchandise will be for sale at the show, and on Saturday, WOMC will be doing a live broadcast from Pontiac.

Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik contributed to this story.