Cruisin' the Coast

Cruise-in to salute veterans goes back to its roots with return to Centennial Plaza

The shade of the oak trees at Centennial Plaza make a welcome spot to admire the cars during Cruisin’ The Coast. Cruisin’ and other events will continue to be staged at Centennial Plaza after the resort opens this summer.
The shade of the oak trees at Centennial Plaza make a welcome spot to admire the cars during Cruisin’ The Coast. Cruisin’ and other events will continue to be staged at Centennial Plaza after the resort opens this summer. SUN HERALD FILE

One of the most meaningful and memorable events at Cruisin’ The Coast each year is the Salute To Our Veterans cruise-ins.

“The whole purpose is to have the vets enjoy the cars,” said Woody Bailey, executive director of Cruisin’ The Coast.

This year, the event, which features Cruisers converging on the location to honor veterans, will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Centennial Plaza, 200 E. Beach Blvd., Gulfport. In recent years, it has been held at the Biloxi VA facility.

“The change of venue is going back to its original roots,” Bailey said.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the event was held under the oaks at the old Veterans Affairs facility at Centennial Plaza, which is now Cruise Central, but after the storm damaged the property, organizers moved the veterans cruise-in to the Biloxi VA facility.

In the following years, construction and other issues forced the event to move around for a few years.

“The vets event started at the Gulfport VA property a number of years ago,” Bailey said, “to have the vets at the VA home in Gulfport enjoy Cruisin’ The Coast.”

Now the veterans are living in Gulfport’s new VA retirement facility near Centennial Plaza, so moving the event back to the original location makes sense. Bailey said veterans from both the Gulfport and Biloxi VA facilities will be bused to Cruise Central for the Tuesday, Oct. 3, Salute to Veterans event.

“The vets have served their country,” he said. “We want to honor that service and feel like this is a way Cruisin’ The Coast can help do that.”

This year’s Salute to Our Veterans event also will feature a celebrity appearance by Cristy Lee and the Crusin’ The Coast Feature car.

Scott Hawkins: 228-896-2424, @ScottHawkins4

Salute To Our Veterans

Where: Cruise Central, Centennial Plaza, 200 E. Beach Blvd., Gulfport

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3

The event will feature a celebrity appearance by Cristy Lee and an appearance of the Cruisin’ The Coast Feature Car

Cruisin’ The Coast

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