Braeden Batdorff, 4, of Royal Oak, plays with his toy 1969 Dodge Charger outside his home, located near Buckingham Road and Woodward Avenue, in anticipation of the Woodward Dream Cruise Saturday, Aug. 17.

Braeden Batdorff, 4, of Royal Oak, plays with his toy 1969 Dodge Charger outside his home, located near Buckingham Road and Woodward Avenue, in anticipation of the Woodward Dream Cruise Saturday, Aug. 17.

Photo provided by Brian Batdorff

Woodward Dream Cruise celebrates a quarter-century of events

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published August 13, 2019


ROYAL OAK — The revving of engines along Woodward Avenue has been commonplace since the early days of summer, but the official Dream Cruise is almost here.

On Aug. 17, droves of car enthusiasts are expected to descend on the thoroughfare to catch all of the hot rods, custom cars and unique vehicles sure to be heating up the pavement.

“For 25 amazing years, this tradition has celebrated our region and brought it into both the national and international spotlight. Ford Motor Co.’s returning support is an integral part of this salute to all things automotive,” Greg Rassel, president of the Woodward Dream Cruise, said in a press release. “The Woodward Dream Cruise continues to be a car enthusiast’s phenomenon, with people lining Woodward Avenue to celebrate the world’s largest one-day car event.”

Royal Oak resident Brian Batdorff, who lives near Buckingham Road and Woodward Avenue, has prime real estate for the event. He takes advantage of the situation by hosting a dayslong shindig on his property.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to embrace it. We hear (the cars) going off all night,” Batdorff said. “I pretty much run an open house from Wednesday to Saturday. Everybody stays super late on Friday, and then Saturday is more of a chill family day.”

He sets up tents and lawn games and invites friends to bring their mopeds, motorcycles and minibikes. His children — Braeden, 4; Olivia, 3; and Dylan, 2 — also enjoy the spectacle on Woodward.

“Braeden’s really into old cars. He calls them ‘awesome cars,’” Batdorff said. “He gets really excited when he sees them. Olivia gets into it too. She likes to follow her big brother.”

During the Woodward Dream Cruise, multiple cities along the 16-mile route will host their own events, including Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Pontiac and Pleasant Ridge.

In Royal Oak, the Performance Park Classic Car Show will take place at Memorial Park from noon to 7 p.m. Aug. 16 and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 17. Memorial Park is located at 31050 Woodward Ave., near 13 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway.

The car show is a free event that coincides with the Woodward Dream Cruise and includes approximately 1,000 cars, as well as a nostalgia drag racing display. Car owners and their families receive wristbands to sit on bleachers set up on the Woodward-facing easement of the park so they can watch the cruise.

The official Woodward Dream Cruise merchandise tent, vendors, a food court and a WOMC broadcast tower will set up in Memorial Park.

From 8 to 9:30 a.m. Aug. 17, the ninth annual Cruise In Shoes 5K Walk/Run will take place at Shrine High School in Royal Oak. The route begins on Yorba Linda Boulevard, travels along Woodward Avenue for a mile, weaves through neighborhoods and then returns to the high school.

Proceeds from the race benefit the communities involved in the Dream Cruise, and the family-friendly event allows participants the opportunity to check out the sights before the event becomes crowded. For more information, visit

For those planning to enjoy the festivities, Royal Oak police have issued warnings that they would be cracking down on cruisers and revelers along the 6 miles of Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak.

“This is an ongoing issue that the Police Department has been trying to deal with,” said Lt. Keith Spencer, of the Royal Oak Police Department. “We’re trying to educate the public about things to do and not to do in the time leading up to the cruise.”

Spencer said police receive complaints of loitering, littering, loud noises and driving offenses, including speeding.

“We’re going to take a zero-tolerance policy,” he said.

Along with the more glaring offenses, Royal Oak police are also cautioning motorists that parking on private property, including downtown businesses, without the owner’s permission, is illegal.

For the second year, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation will offer free bus rides during the Woodward Dream Cruise, beginning at 9 a.m. Aug. 17. The free shuttle runs along Woodward Avenue, starting in Pontiac and traveling to Eight Mile Road and back.

Riders can board at any SMART RED or FAST bus stop from Eight Mile Road to Pontiac, and all buses are air-conditioned and wheelchair-accessible.

The Woodward Dream Cruise began in 1995 as a fundraiser to raise money for a soccer field in Ferndale; now, it draws 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars from around the world, according to its website.

For more information about the Woodward Dream Cruise, including a complete list of events, visit

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.