Eastpointe’s 23rd annual Cruisin’ Gratiot will be held June 16-18.

Eastpointe’s 23rd annual Cruisin’ Gratiot will be held June 16-18.

File photo by Deb Jacques

Cruisin’ Gratiot returns to the avenue next week

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 8, 2022

EASTPOINTE — Display those fuzzy rearview-mirror dice and shine that chrome: It’s time to cruise Gratiot Avenue in Eastpointe.

Eastpointe’s 23rd annual Cruisin’ Gratiot is back with three days of classic car shows, cruising, live entertainment and more June 16-18.

“It’s a fun time to hang around. The goal is to showcase our town and businesses, and to show we’re a family town,” Eastpointe resident and Cruisin’ Gratiot Board Secretary Kathy DiCenzo said. “It’s to be with your neighbors and support local businesses.”

The “vroom vroom” fun will begin with a classic car show from 4 to 8 p.m. June 16 at First State Bank, 16100 E. Nine Mile Road.

The momentum will continue with a car show from 3 to 8 p.m. June 17 at Cloverleaf, 24443 Gratiot Ave. Motor City Pawnbrokers will sponsor the show.

There is no preregistration required for the two car shows. Classic car owners can show up and display their prized possessions at both car shows, and spectators can come and check them out.

June 18 is the official “cruise day” in which classic car owners can drive up and down Gratiot Avenue between Eight Mile and 10 Mile roads in the inside lane closest to the median. The other lanes will be open for regular traffic. The Michigan Department of Transportation grants the city permission to have a special lane for the classic cruise drivers.

“That is so the classic cars don’t overheat and the drivers are not stuck in as much traffic,” DiCenzo said.

A lane pass costs $15 if registered in advance and $20 on cruise day. Cruisers can register in advance by calling DiCenzo at (586) 772-5007. Drivers also can sign up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on cruise day, June 18, at Eastpointe High School, 15501 Couzens Ave. It is cash only.

On June 18 during the cruise, the high school will be the site of another car show, sponsored by the engineering firm of Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, which is located in Shelby Township.

There will be an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. June 18 at the high school. Everyone is welcome to attend. The cruise will then officially kick off at 1 p.m. with a VIP parade featuring local city and school officials. The parade route will begin at the high school.

Former Eastpointe Mayor Harvey Curley, now a member of the City Council, said the VIP parade will travel to Eight Mile Road, head north to 10 Mile Road and then return to the high school. Throughout the day, a disc jockey will spin records at the high school, and from 2 to 4 p.m., balloon animals and face painting will be available.

This year’s parade grand marshal is 13-year-old Dominic Miller, who founded Dominic’s Christmas Wish. Through the program, Miller collects new pajamas and books for children in need at Christmastime.

“He collects over 2,000 pairs of pajamas every year for homeless people. He’s a wonderful young fellow,” said Curley, Cruisin’ Gratiot Board president.

Official cruise merchandise will be available at Advance Auto Parts, Andary’s Restaurant, the Eastwood Odd Fellows No. 496, Muffler Man, Eastpointe High School and Pep Boys. Proceeds will benefit local charities.

Cruisin’ Gratiot will wind down on Saturday with a closing ceremony that begins at 7 p.m. About 30 prizes also will be given for the best-looking cars.

“We select the ones we think are the nicest in color, shine and everything is clean inside,” Curley said.

While Curley has never owned a classic car, he appreciates seeing them during Cruisin’ Gratiot.

“I love it. You get to know the drivers. You keep track of them,” Curley said. “We’ve been around a long time. We are going to keep going.”

DiCenzo said committee members are still looking for volunteers for Cruisin’ Gratiot. A special request is to find someone who can update the event’s website. If interested in helping out with any of the festivities, call DiCenzo at (586) 772-5007.

Curley said the committee is still in need of convertibles for the VIP parade. If you can assist, he can be reached at (586) 480-0355.