OT - Woodward Dream Cruise Open Thread

Submitted by 1989 UM GRAD on August 16th, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Anyone hanging out at the Woodward Dream Cruise today?

Yes, many people who live along Woodward consider it to be the bane of their existence.  And I'm not really a car guy.  But I've come to appreciate how incredible it is that 1.5 million people congregate along Woodward Avenue on the third Saturday of every August to watch 40-50K classic cars cruise up and down the road.  It really is an amazing sight to see.

My parents are of the generation who used to cruise Woodward...so I've been regaled with tales of the Totem Pole and other former Woodward Avenue landmarks. 

We bought our first house in Birmingham in 1995 (the year of the first Cruise) and were just eight houses or so west of Woodward.  We are now in our third house but are still only a 1/2 mile west of Woodward.  So, whether we've liked it or not, we've been in the cruise pretty much every year.  For a few of these years, we've even been some of the annoying people tooling around in golf carts.

Any classic car owners or lovers here?  Do you love or hate the Cruise?  Any interesting stories from past cruises?

Look for me in Birmingham.  I'll be the guy in the Michigan shirt...in anticipation of being up in Ann Arbor for the UTL scrimmage.



August 16th, 2014 at 11:47 AM ^

I love near 9 and Woodward. I am definitely a car guy, but I won't be driving mine too much today. too crazy out there. It was super annoying trying to get to my house after work, but it's all good. If I wasn't a car guy, I would probably hate it.


August 16th, 2014 at 11:52 AM ^

I'm not a car guy at all. I've been to the Dream Cruise twice and I thought it was miserable. I can't believe that there are that many people who enjoy it. I'm probably in the minority on this one.


August 16th, 2014 at 11:56 AM ^

Will be celebrating the Dream Cruise by staying in my house all day! Thanks to all who come and provide economic stimulus to the area, but too may people creating traffic jams of "old" cars for me to participate directly.


August 16th, 2014 at 12:05 PM ^

I like the dream cruise though. the old cars are pretty sweet and it is something to drink and people watch at.

However, the major pain in the ass is all these people trying to be cool in their cars and to do the dream cruise all month....that makes everything awful. This weekend is fine, when people try to stretch it out all month, now you are causing problems


August 16th, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

Ah, the giant white trash loitering fest! I certainly appreciate old cars (and the region's history) but dream cruise is a fucking nightmare for people who live/work in the area. Further, it crushes the vast majority of businesses that rely on their customers being able to get to their business or park upon arrival. Hordes of cooler-toting mouth breathers don't spend money (except for gas), so even the "economic boon" argument is off-base. Can't wait for those folks to stop cruising...just a few more months!


August 16th, 2014 at 2:07 PM ^

I don't know much about the economic impact now, but when I lived in Royal Oak and worked at a store in the area we typically saw an uptick in people stopping by this weekend.  Admittedly, it was mostly to buy water and cigarettes, but we didn't complain.

I will say that, with few exceptions, the actual event is tough on local residents to get around, but I guess that's true for any major festival and event.  


August 16th, 2014 at 4:12 PM ^

I live near and used to own a business on Woodward. The cruise cost us ~$20k each year and harmed most nearby businesses. Frankly, not many were even able to open on Saturday. There have been a number of good ideas to make the event work better for local residents and businesses but none have been implemented.

If you want a fair reading of just how little Cruise fans care about the locals, consider how much harder they're making life for the large number of people trying to clean and rebuild houses after the flood. Consider the nonexistent fundraising to help those in need. All it's doing is making life harder and dumping even more trash, without paying one cent for the privilege.


August 16th, 2014 at 8:16 PM ^

The Dream Cruise basically started out as a charity fundraiser and of course was much smaller in scale back in the mid-1990s by comparison, but it is worth point this out - it does give back, although admittedly it has become a business unto itself so I don't know how much gets back to charities. 

I didn't go this year, but I will take my son, who loves learning about cars, next year - I grew up in a General Motors family and I am a bit of a motorhead myself too. 


August 16th, 2014 at 8:30 PM ^

Unattributed quote that's also misleading. How much money do you think is generated from random tshirt sales? Not much. And what tiny portion of that goes to charity? Exactly. The cities don't even have enough money to pay for staffing and clean up.


August 16th, 2014 at 11:11 PM ^

Again, I'm not disputing what happened with your business; all I know is that we had an uptick and while it wasn't amazing it was noticeable.  And for all the hate the people get, it's not all rednecks and wasteful people; lots of individuals come and spend money in the community.  May just be that your business isn't one that will experience that benefit.  


August 17th, 2014 at 8:57 AM ^

I guess it's just gaining an understanding that "water and cigarettes" are an indicator of what sells and what doesn't.  How about picture frames?  Sushi?  Insurance?  Office space? Hair salons?  The vast majority of businesses on and near Woodward are not tailored to the bottom of the barrel.  In theory, my business was one that would benefit from the Cruise, but that just isn't how it works.  When people camp out on Woodward, then sit in lawn chairs, eating and drinking from coolers, you can get a good sense of how little they send in (non-convenience store) local businesses.

The "people enjoy the cruise" argument is the only valid one as to why it should exist.  There is no local economic benefit, only cost...one that is made worse given the holiday weekend coming so soon after the Cruise.  I always felt it would be best to run the Cruise on Labor Day weekend when less people were in town and businesses always take a hit anyway.  Oh well, at least now it's just an inconvenience for me and not a massive economic loss.


August 16th, 2014 at 12:19 PM ^

As a current resident of Royal Oak and a person who grew up at 13 & Woodward I am simply over the Cruise. It is not just the 3rd weekend in August. Every weekend in July and June people are 'Cruising'. Pretty much every single day of August Woodward has been a nightmare as well. Thankfully I am a few miles off Woodward and have no reason to cross it. Some of my friends are attending and I simply said no thank you.

Prince Lover

August 16th, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

Who doesn't love to pull up a chair and watch....traffic?

I'm just kidding to those who enjoy it, I've just never been a car connoisseur. I hope you guys have good weather and there are no accidents.


August 16th, 2014 at 2:31 PM ^

Use to sit in lawn chairs on hot friday nights and watch m plate cars go toe to toe with strip cars and motorcycles with wheelie bars light it up for a half mile from the light at Oakland to the light at Oak along Poppleton Park. My backyard faced Poppleton. Drove Woodward in my '66 Riviera 425 nailhead from '77-79 and have never been to the 'Cruise as a result because it is just a glacial car show and not what Woodward was. The weekends leading up to this one were like it used to be and traffic with American muscle got a little heavy back in the day. My Dad drove Woodward  to the Totem Pole in a '52 Ford and lived 1 block north of the 14 mile intersection in B'ham from '36 to '58. 13 and Woodward was the hangout with the plaza parking lot full of cars with their hoods up and plans to test each other made for more remote locations around the city. Having recently extensively driven Chrysler's Hellcat Challenger and Charger and the Viper they just blow away all the Roadrunners and Tri-Powers of the day. In fact they are kinda scary but in a good way.

snarling wolverine

August 16th, 2014 at 3:36 PM ^

The Dream Cruise isn't really my thing, but I don't get all the negativity.  Yeah, driving on Woodward is a pain for a couple days, but this is an event that brings a lot of people to the Detroit area.  It's not like we're New York and can afford to turn up our nose at visitors.  From what I understand, it does in fact have a pretty significant economic impact on local businesses.


August 16th, 2014 at 3:41 PM ^

Is from the fact that it is not just 2-3 days, it is every weekend evening during the summer with people going 25 in the right two lanes of the main artery through this side of town.

On top of that many businesses actually just close and lose money for the weekend because all that many of the cruisers want is a free restroom.  It is good for gas stations and the McDonald's at 13 mile but really that is about it.

snarling wolverine

August 16th, 2014 at 10:24 PM ^

I drive on Woodward all the time.  Aside from a few days around the Dream Cruise it's not that bad.

If you think traffic here is bad in the summer, go to Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta - really, almost any other big metro area.  Driving in the Detroit area is cake compared to those places.


Wonky Donkey

August 17th, 2014 at 11:47 AM ^

It is only for 2-3 days...come on man!  Every weekend argument is cray.  I have no problem driving on or crossing over woodward at any other time.  many business do make money as well.  not just on woodward either.  holliday market has been slammed as an example. 


August 16th, 2014 at 5:13 PM ^

It's cool but at the same time the Dream Cruise has become too big now. If I had a cool classic car the Dream Cruise would be the last place I would take it. Many people suck at driving on Woodward to begin with let alone on a crowded Woodward with plenty of distractions around.