Dream Cruise starts its engines today with small-town traditions

By Bill Laitner

Muscle cars, classics and hot rods have been rolling on Woodward all summer, but the official kickoff for Saturday’s Woodward Dream Cruise is today.

There are vintage auto thrills to be had this afternoon in Ferndale, tonight in Berkley and all day in Pontiac.

“We keep getting calls from people all over the country, asking us if the rain is going to stop any part of the Dream Cruise — it’s not,” said Louis Katsaros with Woodward Dream Cruise, the nonprofit group of cities that stage the big event.

Here’s a rundown of today’s fun:

FERNDALE: The city where the Dream Cruise began hosts the official kick-off tonight.

First, though, the city plans to stage its 14th Ferndale Emergency Vehicle Show, 1-8 p.m. on East 9 Mile at Woodward, where vintage cop cars and ambulances vie with classic fire trucks to spark memories of simpler times.

At 5 p.m. comes the ribbon cutting, held where 9 Mile meets Woodward, because that’s where it all started 20 cruises ago in 1995. That’s when Ferndale plumber Nelson House told the city he could raise money for a kids soccer field by holding a classic car show on Woodward, said Ralph Haney, 66, of Clawson, president of the United Street Machines car club.

“Nobody could believe it when we had a quarter of a million people show up that first year,” Haney said.

“It’s kind of cool that we’ve had 20 years of this,” he said.

Haney, along with Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter and Cruis’news publisher Dana DeCoster of Sterling Heights, will cut the ribbon.

BERKLEY: The annual CruiseFest on 12 Mile is great fun for autophiles and their kids.

The Berkley Classic Car Parade, 6:30-7:30 p.m., is scheduled to have more than 400 classics rolling from Coolidge west to Greenfield. Then, 12 Mile is to close to traffic and become a playground of inflatables for youngsters, a street dance for teens — with a Who tribute band — and sidewalk sales plus a food court for all. Classic cars from the parade are to be parked behind the Berkley Theater for viewing all evening.

PONTIAC: The city with the bittersweet tie to the bygone GM marque will have vintage Pontiacs and other cars at its weekend-long car show that starts 10 a.m. today.

But just as fun is Pontiac’s music. DJs are to warm up crowds in two locations inside the downtown loop, near Saginaw and Pike, starting at noon today. Live music flows 6:30-9 p.m. on the nearby Hidden River stage with jazz stylists Quincy Stewart & Trio.

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