A GMC van catches the eyes of the Berkley Cruisefest crowd by driving backward and upside down during last year’s Classic Car Parade

A GMC van catches the eyes of the Berkley Cruisefest crowd by driving backward and upside down during last year’s Classic Car Parade

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Berkley Cruisefest, Classic Car Parade to celebrate 23rd year

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 15, 2018

 The 23rd annual Berkley Cruisefest Classic Car Parade will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, along 12 Mile Road in the downtown area.

The 23rd annual Berkley Cruisefest Classic Car Parade will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, along 12 Mile Road in the downtown area.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Cruisefest riders wave to the crowd in a custom hot rod during the 2017 Classic Car Parade.

Cruisefest riders wave to the crowd in a custom hot rod during the 2017 Classic Car Parade.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

BERKLEY — Close to 400 classic cars once again will be making their way down 12 Mile Road for the city’s annual Cruisefest Classic Car Parade.

The 23rd annual edition will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, on 12 Mile Road between Coolidge Highway and Greenfield Road.

The Classic Car Parade always comes in at around 400 vehicles, Parks and Recreation Director Theresa McArleton said, as any more might be stretching the event too long.

“Our experience is 10 percent of those who register will not come,” she said. “We wouldn’t want to go too much bigger for fear that it would be too long for people to sit and watch the cars for that time.

“If you get more than 400 cars, you’re really pushing that time limit, and I think we’ve found that that 400 number, give or take, is the right number,” she said.

The festivities for Cruisefest will begin at 6 p.m., right before the parade is set to begin. This will include a kids inflatable zone at 12 Mile and Tyler Avenue; a game booth on both Griffith and Robina avenues; and a food court area located on Robina, south of 12 Mile and the downtown business district. All of these will continue until 9 p.m.

After the parade concludes at 7:30 p.m., 12 Mile will open back up for live entertainment and the Tri-Community Coalition Street Dance.

The grand marshals for the parade are former Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace, DTE Energy Senior Engineer and U.S. Navy veteran Michael Alarie, and WXYZ Channel 7 anchor Dave LewAllen.

“You see a lot of people coming out year after year, and you really just get to see your neighbors or people from other states — we get many people from Canada — and really just experience the cars,” McArleton said.

Mayor Dan Terbrack called Cruisefest the “quintessential Berkley event.”

“People come back to the city and maybe don’t live in the city anymore, but love to come back for the event, and everybody just has a great time,” he said. “It’s just one of those signature events that are just so special to the city of Berkley because of how much care goes into them and how great the events are always.”

Terbrack said his favorite part of the event isn’t so much the classic cars driving down the road, but what happens after the vehicles make their exit and everybody can have fun on a closed-off 12 Mile.

“There’s bands and there’s music, and everybody’s just having a great time and everybody’s just so happy and energized and excited,” he said. “That’s what I really like: to engage with the people.”