Spectators enjoy the many classic vehicles at Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot in 2022.

Spectators enjoy the many classic vehicles at Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot in 2022.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Rev those engines: It’s time for Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 5, 2023


EASTPOINTE — Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot is back for another ride.

The 24th annual event will celebrate classic car culture June 15-17 along Gratiot Avenue. All events will happen rain or shine.

Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot board member Tim Csokas said the event “brings people together.”

“We’re trying to promote the city and promote the businesses that are here,” Csokas said. “Gratiot Avenue is one of those places where everyone cruises around a lot. It’s reliving that time. We have a nice, organized cruise. We’ve got a lot of devoted people that help with the cruise.”

“I do see a lot of the past cruisers that always come back. I’ve seen new people come and I’ve seen people from out of state,” Csokas said. “I believe there’s a lot of community spirit. It gives a sense of pride. You get the older generation. You got the younger generation. The car shows get crowded.”

Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot will begin June 15 with a car show from 4 to 7 p.m. at the First State Bank, located at 16100 E. Nine Mile Road at Gratiot. First State Bank is sponsoring the show. Dash plaques will be awarded to the first 75 drivers, and prizes will be awarded at 7 p.m.

A second car show — complete with shiny chrome and fuzzy dice — will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. June 16 at Cloverleaf Restaurant, 24443 Gratiot Ave. The event is sponsored by Motor City Pawn Brokers. Dash plaques will be awarded to the first 75 drivers, and prizes will be awarded at 7 p.m.

June 17 is the official “cruise day” from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick is sponsoring a car show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Eastpointe High School parking lot, located at 15501 Couzens Ave., off Gratiot near Nine Mile Road.

Other events are planned at the high school. All are invited to the welcome ceremony at 11 a.m. There also will be the presentation of the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a prayer service and a blessing of the cruise.

Throughout the day, several businesses will have official Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot merchandise, including hats and T-shirts, for sale.

At 1 p.m., a VIP parade with local city and school officials in convertibles will take a spin around Gratiot Avenue. This year, members of the Eastpointe Public Safety Department will be the grand marshal of the VIP parade.

“Whoever is available will be there,” Cruisin’ Gratiot Board Secretary Kathy DiCenzo said, adding that there will be a vintage police car present along with a new car.

Then start your engines: It’s time to cruise. The official cruise lane will open at 1:30 p.m. Classic car owners can cruise up and down Gratiot Avenue between Eight Mile and 10 Mile roads in the inside lane closest to the median.

Classic car cruisers need to register in advance and obtain a special cruise lane pass. A lane pass costs $15 if registered in advance and $20 on cruise day. Visit the Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot website for details at www.cruisin-gratiot.com. The other lanes will be open for regular traffic. The cruise lane will officially close at 7 p.m. with assistance from the Eastpointe Public Safety Department.

Money raised from the annual cruises is distributed to five Eastpointe charities: St. Vincent de Paul Conference at St. Basil the Great Catholic Church, the Eastpointe Lions Club, the East Detroit Tiger Cats, Odd Fellows Eastwood Lodge No. 496 and Love Life Family Christian Center. In past years, the cruise committee also has donated to other charitable organizations, including the Kiwanis Clinton Township and the Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society in Eastpointe.

Organizers hope for a good turnout this year.

“I want the businesses and Eastpointe to benefit from it, and I’m hoping we can give the charities a lot of money. We’ve got our major sponsors who are wonderful,” DiCenzo said. “We have a lot of good things going on in this town. We want to showcase it.  I want the businesses and Eastpointe to benefit. To see all the old vehicles, it takes you right back in time.”

For more information, visit the Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot website  at www.cruisin-gratiot.com.