CruiseFest attendees fill the bleachers and wave to a Volkswagen bus at the Classic Car Parade.

CruiseFest attendees fill the bleachers and wave to a Volkswagen bus at the Classic Car Parade.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Berkley CruiseFest Parade celebrates 24 years

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 19, 2019

 A trio of classic cars makes its way down 12 Mile Road at the 24th annual CruiseFest Classic Car Parade.

A trio of classic cars makes its way down 12 Mile Road at the 24th annual CruiseFest Classic Car Parade.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 The styling of this orange vehicle with gull-wing doors catches the eyes of spectators at the 2019 Berkley CruiseFest Classic  Car Parade.

The styling of this orange vehicle with gull-wing doors catches the eyes of spectators at the 2019 Berkley CruiseFest Classic Car Parade.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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BERKLEY — The streets of downtown Berkley were packed with people as thousands lined 12 Mile Road to take in the 24th annual CruiseFest Classic Car Parade on Friday, Aug. 16.

More than 350 vehicles paraded down 12 Mile from the start near Woodward Avenue to Greenfield Road. Along the way, the sidewalks had little room as both residents and out-of-towners found a spot to take in the classic cars of yesteryear.

Bryan Smith and Chris Baldridge, who both work at Metro Sold Real Estate Services in Berkley, have participated in the parade in the past, but they decided to take it easy and watch the procession this year.

Smith, a Sterling Heights resident, felt like CruiseFest was the kickoff to the Dream Cruise weekend.

Baldridge, an Ann Arbor resident, added that they still wanted to be part of the festivities even though they didn’t register to be involved in the parade.

“Normally we were in it, and you only get to see, really, the car in front of you,” Smith said. “This will be nice to actually be a spectator this time.”

“There’s a wide range of cars,” added Baldridge. “There’s something for every car enthusiast. Some people like the hot rods, the customs. Others like the original stock vehicles.”

Lisa Vancoppenolle comes to CruiseFest with her husband, Rich, just about every year.

A longtime fan of classic cars, Vancoppenolle said she grew up around the horsepower and muscle of the vehicles featured in the parade thanks to her father, who used to be a race car driver.

“It’s just the classic cars and you get to see just about all of them, whereas sitting on Woodward ... it’s the mixture of cars. It’s not just the old cars,” she said. “They’re just closer together and you get to see just about all of them, all the different types.”

The Classic Car Parade featured vintage vehicles from almost every era, including Mustangs, Firebirds and Corvettes, to Model Ts and Volkswagen buses.

Jason Gould, of Berkley, drove his 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint in the parade with his wife, Julie, and daughters Alayna, 5, and Autumn, 2. While he owns about a dozen cars, he went with the Sprint on the suggestion of Alayna, because it’s purple.

“It was fun!” he said. “The girls had fun waving to everyone. Both of them, even my 2-year-old, said when we were done, ‘That was so much fun!’ They liked the people watching and stuff, and the reactions that they get back and forth from them.”

Gould has participated in the parade for about 10 years, and he said his favorite part of the experience too is the reactions from the people.

“The people that are there, you know, want to be there,” he said. “They love the cars and all that, and although there’s no shortage of cars, we just do our part to participate. … I was kind of getting a little burned out of it, but now the kids love it so much that that’s kind of what’s kept me going on it.”

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