Woodward Dream Cruise - Michigan
As Woodward Avenue cruisers during the late 50s and the 60s, we thoroughly enjoy each annual Woodward Dream Cruise (WDC). The car, truck and people watching is great. We will give you a flavor of the event from our perspective and provide a selection of photographs.
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You will see yellow tape used to stake out car club territory and pedestrians in some photographs.
It is an event we look forward to each year.
Photographs of Vehicles of every description follow the above narrative.
If you plan to attend the next WDC , our suggestions may be of value.
It is an event we look forward to each year. We are fortunate to have a friend who permits us to 'camp' in the parking lot behind her building for the weekend. We have developed a relationship over the years with her neighbor where we use the front porch of her building as a viewing platform. Both of these locations add to our enjoyment of the weekend and are greatly appreciated by us, our family and friends.
Officials estimate that over 1.5 million people attend the WDC each year. These photographs show the area north and south of our viewing location - only a few feet of the 16 miles of Woodward Avenue between Ferndale and Pontiac, Michigan used by the WDC car owners and spectators.
Some residents go visit friends and some Woodward Avenue businesses close on WDC Day. Residence must contend with parking and traffic on their streets and businesses have no parking for their customers even if they successfully fought the traffic to get to the business.
There are opportunities to purchase 'official' merchandise at many locations along the route. The profits from each booth supports the WDC Committee and a specific charity.
In addition, commercial vendors have set up exhibits to sell items. Some businesses distribute free advertising items.
The Woodward Dream Cruise is on the third Saturday of August. It is publicized as a one-day event between 9am to 9pm. However, the cruising begins earlier in the week each year - Thursday and Friday nights are busy on Woodward Avenue. People stand or sit at the curb all along the over 16 mile stretch of Woodward Avenue. Each city has events scheduled at various times, generally Friday and Saturday.
Vehicles are displayed all along Woodward Avenue. If commercial businesses do not use all of Memorial Park, the park is used to display vehicles.
This couple enjoys their lunch and the passing vehicles.
A warning to people with young children. During the WDC, muffler requirements are not enforced. Some of the vehicles are very loud and scare the young ones.
Ashlyn did not like a few of the extremely loud dragsters.
Another event that draws attention is the Grand Nationals for model car racing. Here they are on Friday practicing for the big race.
We have not experienced bad weather very often. But, if we do, the car owners and spectators are not deterred by the bad weather - the Woodward Dream Cruise must go on. In 2006, it looked like the forecasted rain was going to dampen the WDC. (It did for a while, then cleared.) In 2007, the rain started at about 7:30pm. (Again, it did not deter the drivers or the crowd.)
Most people bring raingear and some use protective covers - just in case.
Some cars are driven in the rain, some are covered.
Other cars remain on display but are dried off between rain showers.
While people bring their pets to the WDC, most that we saw appeared bored. In our opinion, the WDC is not a place for young children and animals.
(Fred missed the photograph of the iguana and the duck.)
Michigan has a helmet law.
This dog is protected.
Some vendors were sympathetic . . .
To view our law enforcements officers in action controlling this large crowd, other agencies send representatives to visit the WDC. Officers are on foot, on bicycles, on motorcycles, on horseback and in vehicles. The local newspaper reported that 20 law enforcement agencies participated in 2006. Some coming from as far as Alabama. Here, one of our local sheriff deputies talks to officers from North Wales.
Considering the large number of people attending each year, very few incidents other than traffic violations occur. Most of the violations are issued to those who attend for the 'party' - not in appreciation of the vehicles.
Some people encourage the drivers to 'burnout'. Some drivers accommodated them if there are no officers nearby to issue tickets. The smoke from the burning rubber filled the air during the early years.
Fred has stood at the curb behind a 'burnout' location with friends and they could feel rubber hitting their faces. They don't do that anymore. At the curb near and especially in front of a burnout location is not a safe place to be.
If it is hot on cruise day, it is tough on the vehicles. Some vehicles are in the cruise on WDC day but are more at home on the drag strip.
This car blew a radiator hose - a bad day.
Many just can't take the heat . . . that is a pool and trail of anti-freeze.
Some have to be pushed due to other mechanical problems.
Many of the vehicles are not driven on a regular basis so mechanical issues can be expected.
In 2009, a group tried to 'cool' their crowd with a large fan. In this position the fan was too far away to be a benefit. After a bunch of people tripped over an extension cord across the sidewalk, they decided moving the fan closer to the group was not going to work. So, they enjoy the WDC like the rest of us --- in the August heat.
This made Fred feel old. This young boy was getting his allowance out of an ATM next to where we watch the WDC.
Generally, the crowd is there to enjoy the vehicles. Most people are well behaved. As darkness arrives, the viewing of the vehicles become less important to a few of the bystanders and the 'burnouts' increase. In recent years, law enforcement agencies have been issuing more tickets and the burnouts have been reduced. This is better for all.
We are happy to say that the number of burnouts in our area continue to be reduced. Stricter enforcement and perhaps people have realized how dangerous it is. There are too many spectators around for this activity.
It also helps that police start to 'shut down' the cruising around 9:00 pm. It is an amazing sight to see how they peacefully and politely disburse 1.5 million people and clear miles and miles of bumper to bumper traffic. It only takes about an hour to get the job done. They move all the vehicles to the right lane and make them turn right and leave Woodward Avenue at the mile roads. Then, the motorcycle police travel the route to disburse the spectators. We counted 92 police motorcycles in 2006. It is an impressive long line of blue and red flashing lights. Their first and second passes silently tell everyone it is time to go home. If you are still there during their third pass, an officer says "good night folks, we'll see you next year".
Woodward is closed!
Sunday morning, after walking to the near-by McDonalds for breakfast, Mary Lou prepares the inside of the fifth wheel for travel. Meanwhile, Fred picks up the trash left by some of the 1.5 million visitors to the Woodward Dream Cruise. He doesn't start until the city has picked up a majority of the trash. Considering that the street sweeper goes by our location before 6:00am, waiting for them to finish is not an issue. He works around both of the buildings we enjoy so we will be welcome back next year.
We head home but look forward to the next Woodward Dream Cruise. Considering the number of people who gather for this event, the WDC Committee, the many volunteers and the law enforcement agencies (city, county and state) from the cities involved, surrounding cities and counties and other agencies successfully work together to provide a safe and enjoyable day.
Thanks everyone, we'll be back next year.
* * * * *
Vehicles of every description can be seen during the WDC - an estimated 30,000 - 40,000 classic, muscle and customized vehicles. We hope you enjoy these selections from the hundreds of photographs Fred has made during the years. (Thank goodness for a digital camera.)
Each year we will add a few photographs to the collection.
We will start with Jeff's Corvette. If Steve's friend looks happy, it's because he got his 1974 Corvette back after a year of restoration work in time for the 2003 WDC. It looks great, Jeff.
Fred owned cars like these in his 'youth'. We have to find the photographs of the others. (Some day he wants to add a page of his cars and trucks to the Web site.)
1946 Chevy, purchased in 1959 for $40.
Now he wishes he still had it.
We are still looking for a photograph of his Metropolitan.
At the 2004 WDC, wing doors seemed to be the new thing. We notice many more in 2007.
Some of the 30,000-plus vehicles are the traditional hot rods.
Others are clean and sharp looking vehicles. Oh yes, many have updated and powerful drivetrains as well.
A look at this clean and neat engine compartment - not much there except engine.
A wood bodied pickup . . .
Some people like their vehicles small and some make them into small hot rods.
A couple Crosleys
Electric cars ...
Three wheeled cars ...
Just about anything with wheels can be seen.
And a barrel for the kids.
A 1957 Chevy ...
Another Mini Ford and Chevy
A small Ram ..
A mini Grave Digger ...
Mini vehicle . . .
We noticed more regular golf carts in 2009. Maybe because we bought one in 2008.
Cushman Eagles - one with a side car
If those aren't small enough - wow, these are tiny.
You can't ride this one but it is smaller yet. I would expect this remote car to be stepped on by someone as he drove it through the crowd.
The 'driver' was getting cash from the ATM - maybe he needed to purchase batteries.
Many VWs cruise Woodward.
This one was shortened.
This one was narrowed.
Campers and a truck.
This one can go hunting and fishing ...
This one can go to the drag strip ...
This has good air flow ...
and a hot engine in the front.
A wrought iron body ...
Jeeps and Willys wagons are well represented.
This is a great day to advertise your vehicle.
Many "For Sale" signs are displayed.
A few vehicles have a patriotic theme.
Many use the Dream Cruise to advertise their business. Some are decorated for the cruise, others just want to be seen by the 1.5 million people.
Several military vehicles were driven in the 2009 WDC. The most unusual was a half-track. Fred got a glimpse of it in traffic - we never saw it again.
Some of the vehicles are very unusual. They all get attention from the crowd, which is what their owners want.
Another school bus - a convertible or topless one
(Teddy bear van - used stuffed animals)
Can you say Beverly Hillbillies?
Would you camp in this?
(Carpet instead of paint)
Milk trucks ...
Some ice cream vendors were there . . .
A hearse . . .
A phone company truck. Do you remember 'Ma Bell'?
Straight from the farm. No.
Speaking of farm, this may be 'Recycled Farm Equip.'.
To celebrate the tenth year of the WDC, one of the shuttle busses was decorated with flames.
Some tow very neat looking trailers.
Some tow other toys.
Others tow miniatures of themselves.
Neat place to ride . . . . . Regular, small and smaller
This street rod is towing a Coke cooler . . .
And colorful ...
Look at the color change on this vehicle as it passes by.
What a fantastic paint job!
Heavy duty ...
A restored tow truck ...
And a big one ...
Bigger yet - two turning front axles
And for the NASCAR fans ...
A Thunderbird ... Hi, Gary and Courtney
A pink truck and a purple truck ...
BIG pickup trucks ...
If you don't see what you are looking for on top, look underneath.
Most of the vehicles are hot rods or custom cars. However, you do see several vintage vehicles.
This is an example of what you can do with a "T".
And, expensive cars like this one driven by a charming older couple.
Motorcycles are popular. We especially like the custom three wheelers.
And, a round motorcycle ...
How about a four wheel motorcycle . . . V-10 powered.
Some bicycles have four wheels - or are they quadcycles.
A small two person bike . . . . . . A BIG four person bike
Does your local fire department have vehicles like these?
A large boat needs a large tow vehicle . . .
The street rods were loud . . . but . . . nothing like the noise the jets flyover created. This was a nice addition to the 2009 WDC. Planned, probably not!
Even the kids get into the act.
Or, is it the fathers?
Not to spoil it for you .... but some of these vehicles are
not cars but a collection of parts.
Still, they are labors of love for the car enthusiast,
as well as demonstrations of talent and ingenuity.
* * * * *
If you plan to attend the next WDC, held each year on the third Saturday of August, plan ahead. Arrive early. Lodging reservations are in great demand and made a year or more in advance. The event has become commercialized to a point where many restaurants hold only private parties the entire day. Fast food restaurants and others are open to the public along the route. Party stores are open along the way for food, beverages and ice. Many businesses are closed.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited at the WDC - strictly enforced.
Portable toilets are available in many areas
It is best to arrive prepared to be mostly self-sufficient. Wear casual clothes, comfortable shoes and carry an umbrella for the rain and sun. And, believe it or not, August evenings in Michigan can be cool - carry a jacket. Don't forget your lawn chairs and a plastic bag for your trash. And . . . bring your camera.
Avoid driving on Woodward Avenue or crossing Woodward Avenue on WDC day - traffic is bumper to bumper all day. It can take an hour to travel one mile on Woodward Avenue during this wonderful 16 mile traffic jam.
Additional information is available at www.WoodwardDreamCruise.com - the official Web site of the Woodward Dream Cruise Committee.
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