Thousands of classic, vintage and antique car owners and fans from across the country turned out Sunday to enjoy the first day of Cruisin’ The Coast with nostalgia, sunny skies and a gulf breeze.
Sunday was the first day of Cruisin’ The Coast’s 20th anniversary celebration. The eight-day gathering will feature more than 6,000 registered cars, a car auction, parade, block party, sock hop, a salute to veterans and entertainment.
The largest turnout Sunday was at View the Cruise in Downtown Gulfport, where masses of people walked the streets to look at cars, talk to owners and enjoy nostalgic ‘50s and ‘60s music piped in through wireless speakers. A live band performed on the west side of the entertainment district.
An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people had first gathered for View the Cruise, according to early estimates from police. The event coordinator later estimated the crowd at 15,000 to 20,000, city spokesman Chris Vignes said.
“The weather’s been beautiful and we’re very happy with the turnout and the opportunity to bring people to downtown,” Vignes said.
Cindy and Brian Myers of Hattiesburg made a day trip to enjoy Cruisin’ in Gulfport’s entertainment district.
“It’s fine and so nice,” Brian Myers said.
Steve Doucet’s Mulsanne blue ‘72 Chevelle Supersport wasn’t the oldest on display, but his car drew onlookers as they asked about his car.
The Biloxi man’s car was restored in memory of his son, Chase. The two had bought the car online and considered it “a piece of junk,” Doucet said. He and Chase, 19, began to restore the car on Jan. 17, 2013. His son was killed in a car accident two days later. Volunteers helped him restore the car.
Its white leather seats and interior are original except for the dashboard. The car has a 350 motor, 383 HP and a turbo 350 transmission.
“It’s touching people’s hearts,” Doucet said. “My son would be real proud of the car.”
The day started with a cruise-in at Hardy Court shopping center in Gulfport, followed by Pascagoula’s cruise-in, the ‘Goula Cruise.
Cruisin’ events for Monday
Registration open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Cruise Central, Centennial Plaza, Gulfport
Feature Car Appearances
- Cruise Central, Gulfport, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
- Long Beach, 5 p.m.
Autocross — presented by Golden Nugget Casino and Racing Rednecks, Coast Coliseum (west parking lot), 1-5 p.m. Open to registered vehicles only.
Long Beach parade — Open to registered vehicles only. First 600 to arrive will be in the parade. Line up at 4 p.m. at Long Beach High School, parade starts at 5:30 p.m. Shane & Natalie Lester, stars of Street Outlaws NOLA are Grand Marshals.
Tip Tops playing at Long Beach Harbor, 6-9 p.m.
Ty Taylor & Friends, 8 p.m., IP Casino, Chill Ultra Lounge