Woodward Dream Cruise
The Woodward Dream Cruise event is a classic car event held annually on the third Saturday of August in Metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, along Woodward Avenue, a major thoroughfare built in the early 20th century. The WDC Event spans much of the avenue: drivers travel from the suburbs of Pontiac through Ferndale in Oakland County, Michigan, to the State Fair Grounds within the Detroit city limits, just south of 8 Mile Road. An estimated one million spectators attended the 2009 Woodward Dream Cruise.
Starting in 1848, when the roadway was converted from logs to planks, young carriage drivers would race along Woodward Avenue. Woodward Avenue was developed as a major street in Detroit in the early 20th century, and was lined with mansions and major churches.
By 1958, the roadway was used by youth for unofficial street racing with cars. The wide width, median, and sections lacking a large commercial presence attracted drivers eager for the competition. The numerous drive-ins along the upper road, each with its dedicated local teenaged clientele, were also popular. In the age of the muscle car, Woodward had numerous car dealerships and automobile accessory shops. These completed the attractions for young adults to cruise, race and hang out along the road.
The Woodward Dream Cruise is the world's largest one-day automotive event, drawing about 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe. Spectators can see muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles dating across several decades. The majority of the cars on display are those that were available and popular during the 1950s, 60s and early 70s prior to the OPEC oil embargo. This had resulted in the federal government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations of 1975 and the proliferation, temporarily, of more fuel-efficient and less powerful automobiles. However, the Woodward Dream Cruise also welcomes vehicles of all models whose owners have either scrupulously maintained or customized their car to create a unique vehicle or statement.
Pamela S. McCullough, Mayor, and Nelson House, a plumber from Ferndale, came up with the idea for the cruise in 1994 to help raise money for a children's soccer field in his community. Organizers initially expected 30,000 or 40,000 people to come to the August 19, 1995, inaugural cruise on Woodward Avenue in Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Royal Oak and Birmingham. About 250,000 showed up. It is now the largest single-day classic car event in the world, and brings in over $56 million annually to the Metro Detroit economy.
Although the cruise officially takes place on only one day, each year the celebration starts early in the summer as the classic vehicles begin to appear on local streets. The sponsoring communities of Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Berkley, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, and Pontiac collaborate on ancillary events. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, event organizers cancelled the 2020 Woodward Dream Cruise. The Oakland County Republican Party hosted a "MAGA Dream Cruise" in 2020 in the absence of the Dream Cruise.
- Back to the Bricks-a similar event that takes place on Saginaw Street in Flint, Michigan, generally held on the same weekend as the Dream Cruise.
- Cruisin' Downriver-a similar event that takes place on Fort Street in the Downriver suburbs of Detroit each June.
- Cruising (driving)
- Anderson, Elisha (August 22, 2010)."Weather blamed for smaller attendance at Dream Cruise",Detroit Free Press. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
- Whitall, Susan (March 12, 2007). "Woodward Avenue: Michigan's Main Street". The Detroit News. ISSN 1055-2715. Archived from the original on August 21, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
- Genat, Robert (2010). Woodward Avenue: Cruising the Legendary Strip. North Branch, MN: CarTech Books. pp. 15, 41, 90, 124–5. ISBN 978-1-932494-91-4.
- "Woodward Dream Cruise History". woodwarddreamcruise.com. Archived from the original on September 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
- "Woodward Dream Cruise FAQ". woodwarddreamcruise.com. Archived from the original on September 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
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