Tropical Storm Nate is coming. Cruisers are leaving, but not in a hurry.
Friday’s events will continue as planned, but the remaining Cruisin’ The Coast schedule is being condensed and Sunday’s events are canceled.
“We encourage Cruisers to enjoy today as planned,” Executive Director Woody Bailey said Friday.
All the Cruisin’ venues and other activities will be canceled except for closing activities that begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Cruise Central on U.S. 90 in Gulfport. Those include cash prize giveaways, drawing the winning ticket for the Make-A-Wish Raffle Truck and the unveiling of the 2018 raffle vehicle.
Gates to Cruise Central at Centennial Plaza will open at 8 a.m. Saturday.
“We want our Cruisers and guests to have the best time possible and enjoy the Mississippi Gulf Coast to the fullest, but still head home with time to clear the area before we begin to feel effects of the storm,” said Bailey. “We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation.”
Cruiser stamping cards should be turned in at any stamping venue before 5 p.m. Friday to be entered into Saturday’s drawing.
“We will accept them with or without their stamping being completed,” said Bailey. For those not present, winnings will be mailed to them next week.
It was smooth sailing down most of U.S. 90 on Friday morning as many of those who came to spend a week Cruisin’ The Coast left early or were packing up to go as Tropical Storm Nate takes aim at South Mississippi.
There’s just one change to the Friday schedule.
“Dennis Gage is canceling his public appearances,” he said. Gage comes to Cruisin’ The Coast every year and films an episode for his television show “My Classic Car” every few years. This is one of those years and Bailey said on Friday, “He’s going to be concentrating on filming today.”
On Thursday night, many local fans and visitors claimed the best viewing spots along U.S. 90 in Biloxi, as they traditionally do on the Friday and Saturday night of Cruisin’.
Bailey said, “We had a tremendous crowd for the burnout,” which was a new event this year in Pass Christian.
Despite a year of planning for Cruisin’ it still comes down to weather to make it a success. The last few years saw little rain, but Bailey said, “This year Mother Nature has not cooperated.”
Cruisers and all traffic may be delayed for a short time as they approach the draw bridges on I-110 and Popp’s Ferry. Vincent Creel, Biloxi public affairs manager, said marine traffic has the right of way and the bridge tenders must open the bridges for marina traffic.