Detroit's Woodward Dream Cruise expected to draw 1.3 million people
DETROIT -- The traffic jam/party of the year known as the Woodward Dream Cruise is back for a 24th year.
Car enthusiasts, auto companies and suppliers are expected to bring out and show off about 40,000 classic, muscle, custom and collector rides for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise in the suburbs north of Detroit on Saturday. What began in 1995 as a fundraiser for a soccer field in Ferndale has since grown into what is called the biggest one-day car show in the world.
Ford Motor Co. returns as the presenting sponsor for the one-day festival that stretches for 16 miles from Ferndale to Pontiac and back -- and for days and weeks ahead of the main day.
"We're so fortunate with Ford as the presenting sponsor. This is a global company that will write checks back to the nine cities, that at least helps," Woodward Dream Cruise Executive Director Tony Michaels said.
About 1.3 million people are expected to participate in cruise festivities and spend more than $150 million, said Michael O'Callaghan, COO of the Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau. About 26 percent of the 1.3 million are visitors to the area and occupancy rates at hotels in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties are at 90 percent, he said.
"When you take a look at the number of hotel rooms that are being consumed, about 40,000 room nights are being consumed for the week," O'Callaghan said. "This is our Mardi Gras."
Airbnb is seeing a bump of about 40 percent in bookings for the week, spokesman Ben Breit said. The popular short-timer rental platform said it expects 930 guest arrivals during Dream Cruise week. "Oakland County hosts will earn about $100,000 combined, with the typical host earning $270 during Woodard Dream Cruise," he said.
Blessing and curse
The cruise is a blessing and a curse for local businesses. Some make a party of it and welcome cruisers with open arms, offering Dream Cruise specials, adding staff to handle the crowds and renting out their parking lots. Others, like dry cleaners, nail salons and banks, close up shop because their customers can't easily get to them.
While classic cars can be spotted cruising just about anywhere all week, the official Woodward cruise begins with a 5 p.m. Friday ribbon cutting followed by police parade at Nine Mile and Woodward in Ferndale. Cruisers are welcome, officially, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday.
A plethora of parties, events and classic car shows will line the avenue:
- Ford Motor Co.'s 20th Mustang Alley, starring more than 1,000 Mustangs, returns to Nine Mile Road and Woodward all day Saturday.
- The new 2019 Mustang Bullitt and historic Bullitt models will cruise Woodward starting at 7 a.m. from Berkley.
- Westborn Market in Berkley will be the site of Ford Driving Skills for Life on Saturday where guests can participate in various activities including ride demonstrations and virtual reality experiences.
- Pontiac City Square will host the Flagstar Bank Live Music Stage 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
- Ferndale will host car displays, family-friendly activities, the DJ Sounds & Rock'n Live Entertainment Stage sponsored by Search Optics and more. Events in Ferndale can be found at ferndaledreamcruise.com.
- The city of Berkley hosts its annual CruiseFest and classic car parade on Friday.
- DTE Energy Co. will have two booths of games, prizes and fun on Griffith and Robina avenues south of 12 Mile in Royal Oak, and the Classic Car Parade 6:30-7:30 p.m.
- The Cruise In Shoes 5k run/walk, which travels Woodward Avenue and through the neighborhoods, kicks off the day at 7:30 a.m.
- Other official events hosted across six of the nine communities through which the cruise cruises can be found here.
Friday through Sunday, a new rock music and automotive festival in Hart Plaza called Motor City Muscle aims to extend the Woodward Dream Cruise to downtown Detroit.
Parking is at a premium along to cruise route, so SMART will provide free shuttle service on Woodward 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday using 18 buses that will run Woodward from Eight Mile Road to downtown Pontiac and back.
The bus system's regular Saturday routes will be detoured to avoid the traffic jam.
UAW-Ford is a new sponsor this year, along with Advia Credit Union, Huntington Bancshares and Pep Boys.
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