Cruisin' the Coast

Cruisin’ The Coast is the best car show in the country, poll shows

Did we catch you rocking at Cruisin’ The Coast?

The opening day of Cruisin’ The Coast 2016 in Gulfport was filled with thousands of visitors enjoying the classic cars and music.
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The opening day of Cruisin’ The Coast 2016 in Gulfport was filled with thousands of visitors enjoying the classic cars and music.

Cruisin’ The Coast has been named the best car event in the country, according to a poll by USA Today.

10Best.com announced USA Today readers voted Cruisin’ as their favorite in the annual Readers’ Choice Awards.

“Cruisin’ The Coast is considered “America’s largest block party.” Imagine more than 7,000 vehicles — hot rods, classics, antique vehicles — in a massive car show along the beachside highway on the Mississippi Coast,” USA Today said on its 10Best website.

“Car lovers adore this annual event, which has taken over the Mississippi Gulf Coast every year since its inception in 1996. Cruise between the different venues, each a festival in and of itself, and catch live music, food, merchandise, a car auction, swap meet, parade and plenty of car talk.”

The event, which has been staged every year but 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, has more than 5,100 cars already registered for the 2018 event, which had an economic impact of 28.6 million last year.

“We have been nominated for this award before, but it is great to know that so many of the people who know about Cruisin’ The Coast think this highly of us,” said Woody Bailey, event executive director. “Hospitality and friendliness have been a part of our event from day one.

“This, I think, is a reflection of years of hard work done by so many Coastians, our volunteers, board of directors, and staff.”

Local car clubs have provided volunteers to help since Cruisin’ began, but this year more people will be needed for what has become the largest event in Mississippi, Bailey said.

“Now we’re going to looking for help from the community,” he said. “We’re just growing and we need to supplement car club members with additional volunteers.”

This is new for the event and those who volunteer for a few hours or a few days will work at the sites directing traffic, in the office if they have computer skills or in other ways if they choose. They will receive a volunteer Cruisin’ shirt.

Cruisin’ started with 374 registered vehicles 22 years ago and has grown to more than 8,000 registered in 2017, with vehicles from 40 states, Canada, Germany and Puerto Rico.

For 2018, “We have 44 states and Canada,” Bailey said, and on pace with 2017, which was a record year. Pre-registration closes Aug. 15 and reopens when Cruisin’ starts.

This year’s event is Sept. 30 to Oct. 7. Details and a complete schedule can be found at cruisinthecoast.com.

Sun Herald reporter Mary Perez contributed to this article.

D'Iberville Police Department Major Walter Keck, dressed as Barney Fife, patrolled Cruisin' The Coast in a 1951 Ford police car handing out "Cruisin' citations" to motorists for infractions such as having too much fun. Keck died in June, 2018.

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