Thousands line Berkley’s streets for CruiseFest parade

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 19, 2017

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Thousands of people lined up and down 12 Mile Road in Berkley Friday, Aug. 18, to get a view of nearly 400 cars in the city’s CruiseFest Classic Car Parade.

Vehicles ranging from classic Corvettes and Cadillacs to specialty cars such as a mini fire truck and a van driving upside down and in reverse all captured the attendees’ attentions during the parade.

The parade started at the Roseland Park Cemetery — at Woodward Avenue and 12 Mile Road — and ran west to Greenfield Road.

Viewing the parade brought back many memories for resident Terri Tschirhart, who’s attended every CruiseFest parade over the course of its 22 years.

Tschirhart said her family is big into cars and being at an event like CruiseFest makes her recollect the times when she would drive down Woodward Avenue with her sister growing up.

“This was her era with these cars,” she said. “We would drive down Woodward in the backseat of these cars. But now I get to see these cars that I used to have to drive in when she used to babysit us.”

Parked in a lawn chair on the sidewalk, Tschirhart was waiting to get a glimpse of her 90-year-old mother, Florene Perkowski, in the parade. Tschirhart said her mother had wished to ride in the parade, which her daughter made possible by calling a family friend and having her ride in an old, smaller Berkley fire truck

“She says, ‘Oh you know if we’re going to go to the parade, I’d love to just ride in a car,’” Tschirhart said. “So I arranged it for her. He rides in the parade every year, and now she’s going to ride with him.”

Also perched along 12 Mile Road was John Gryniewicc, of Pleasant Ridge. While he doesn’t own any classic cars himself, he likes viewing them.

A fan of big Cadillacs such as Fleetwoods and Broughams, Gryniewicc said he’s been to the event at least a half dozen times over the years and loves the atmosphere.

“Look at the people. I like being at any kind of event like this that’s just really family oriented and a lot of people getting together,” he said.

The last time Gryniewicc was at CruiseFest, he sat by the cemetery — where the vehicles line up before the parade starts — to get a closer view of the cars, but he said it’s better to watch the parade from a vantage point with a bigger crowd.

“All these guys are so proud of their vehicles. They should be,” he said. “It’s cool to just see them drive.”

Someone who hasn’t been to many CruiseFest events was John Goodemoot, of Troy, who came with his girlfriend, who lives in Berkley.

While he admitted he might not have come on his own, Goodemoot said that once you get to the event and get into it, it’s pretty cool.

“It brings back memories of when you might’ve seen … certain models of cars that maybe you haven’t seen in 30, 40 years,” he said.

A fan of classic cars, especially the late ’60s to early ’70s era of muscle cars, Goodemoot said he previously owned a Camaro, and anytime he saw one drive by, it captured his attention.

“Anytime a Camaro would go by, I would perk up and give it a good look over,” he said.

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