On Aug. 19-20, the city of Ferndale’s Dream Cruise events will take place  on both sides of Nine Mile Road near Woodward Avenue.

On Aug. 19-20, the city of Ferndale’s Dream Cruise events will take place on both sides of Nine Mile Road near Woodward Avenue.

File photo by Mike Koury

Dream Cruise festivities, Mustangs to take over downtown Ferndale

By: Mike Koury | C&G Newspapers | Published August 9, 2022


FERNDALE — Ferndale, where the Woodward Dream Cruise began in 1995, is planning the event’s return home.

From Aug. 19-20, the Ferndale Dream Cruise will make its way back to the city’s downtown on Nine Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, where thousands of people and automobiles will take to the streets for the festivities.

Before the big day, the Dream Cruise events on Friday, Aug. 19, will feature an emergency vehicle show, a Lights and Sirens Cruise and, for the first time, a showcase of past floats from America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit on West Nine Mile. The emergency vehicle show will take place from 1 to 7 p.m., the Lights and Sirens Cruise will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the float show will be from 1 to 8 p.m. All events will be on East Nine Mile Road.

“We always try to do something to keep it fresh and not the same thing,” Ferndale Director of Special Events and Projects and Woodward Dream Cruise Committee President Michael Lary said. “People can see them up close, which is rare to do. Most people see them when they drive by on Woodward, or they see them on television and don’t actually see how large these floats actually are. … We’re actually going to have several of them on display just for that one day, which makes it fun and interesting. And some of them are auto-themed. It really is more for the kids and I think that sometimes even the parents become kids.”

Lary said the floats, of which there will be approximately five, are from a variety of different years of past Thanksgiving Day parades.

“We got to pick and choose which ones we thought would be really nice, because we only had to also take into account how to get them delivered here without getting damaged,” he said. “There was a lot of thought going into this display. … It’s a great opportunity for people; we’re going to let them take pictures with it if they want.”

The city’s Dream Cruise is highlighted by the annual Mustang Alley show on Saturday, Aug. 20, where hundreds of Ford Mustangs are parked on both sides of Nine Mile for attendees to admire. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Keith Daugherty, one of Mustang Alley’s lead organizers, is one of the many volunteers who helps throughout the weekend to put on the city’s Dream Cruise festivities.

Daugherty said his responsibilities are focused on the logistics of the event, such as getting the hundreds of Mustangs on and off Nine Mile in an organized fashion. But getting the participants to sign up for the alley is on the easier side because, as he puts it, the Mustang community is very passionate, engaged and motivated to be part of the event.

“We do not have to go to social media. It’s like word-of-mouth,” he said. “People look at the site, and they start looking at the site in April, and as soon as the site goes live, they’re signing up. So I’d say the good half of our guests, they just know when Mustang Alley is and they will go sign up. The other half do word-of-mouth through various owner clubs. So there’s a very, very large network of Mustang-owner clubs. Once one person finds out, they start sharing it through their network. So, fortunately, my team does not have to work very hard to get those Mustangs coming to Nine Mile.”

What is difficult about the job, Daugherty said, is the scope of how many things he and the other organizers have to do, but it helps when the team that passionate about working and being around Mustangs.

“It’s about 180 to 200 volunteers because we start at basically 6 a.m. and we’re working till 5 p.m,” he said. “Those people are just as excited about Mustangs as the people who are driving their Mustangs in Mustang Alley, so when you get volunteers who are there because it’s fun and they love it, you don’t necessarily have the people problems that you might if it was a job.”

A full list of events can be found at www.woodwarddreamcruise.com.