Cruisin' the Coast

It’s Cruisin’s 21st year and the party is on in South Mississippi

Besides the cars, there’s always plenty to see at Cruisin’ The Coast, like this drive-in set-up on a car in downtown Biloxi.
Besides the cars, there’s always plenty to see at Cruisin’ The Coast, like this drive-in set-up on a car in downtown Biloxi. File

Fans of Cruisin’ The Coast are more than ready to get this party started and by Friday already had claimed the best spots along Beach Boulevard to watch early Cruisers driving by.

From California to Vancleave, people have washed and shined their cars and are arriving in South Mississippi, gearing up for a fun eight days of Cruisin’ from Oct. 1-8.

“Looks like Mother Nature will be cooperative,” said Woody Bailey, executive director of Cruisin’ The Coast, who plans all year for this biggest event in Mississippi and then has to hope for sunny skies. Temperatures that have been stuck in the 90s are forecast to drop into the 80s for the week.

Parties are planned all across the Coast, with Pascagoula signing on as one of the venues.

The difference in Cruisin’ is that cars are driven, not just parked. Starting on Monday, drivers can run the Autocross course behind the Coast Coliseum. On Tuesday, cars light up the night at the Flame-Throwing Contest that begins at sunset at island View Casino.

Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich will drive his cruiser to Biloxi City Hall on Wednesday as the downtown fills for an antique and classic car block party. And one of the most anticipated additions to the calendar is the Burn ’Em Up in The Pass on Thursday. Only the first 40 registered Cruisers can register, and the rest will get to watch them legally burn out.

With a record 7,117 cars already signed up before registration reopens Monday, cars will fill South Mississippi roads for the next week. That makes it fun to cruise with the gangster cars and the gleaming stretch Cadillacs on the way to work, while making it more challenging to get home later in the day as traffic builds.

“I understand about some of the traffic issues,” Bailey said.

Hardy Court in Gulfport at Pass and Courthouse roads is one of three opening day events Sunday. Bailey said he was concerned about construction on Courthouse Road, but crews have Courthouse open, although drivers will want to take it a little slower, or they can come north from U.S. 90 on Texas Avenue, a block to the west.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation and local crews have worked for weeks to get South Mississippi company-ready. Biloxi and D’Iberville will make a final sweep Monday morning, after D’Iberville Mayor Rusty Quave and City Manager Clay Jones invited Biloxi officials to join them in giving their cities one more touchup. Biloxi Mayor Gilich will lead a crew beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, starting at the Biloxi Visitors Center, while Quave and Jones get the cleanup started behind D’Iberville City Hall.

Three big Cruisin’ events Sunday

  • View the Cruise in Downtown Gulfport from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cruise In at Hardy Court Shopping Center on Pass Road in Gulfport from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Cruisin’ Through the Decades, a new event off U.S. 90 at the former Singing River Mall in Gautier, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.