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Birmingham Cruise Expected to Attract Thousands

In its third year, the city's event on Old Woodward will feature 300 classic cars.

While much of the attention Aug. 20 will be on Woodward Avenue, Birmingham will host hundreds of classic rides with the third annual .

And with Chevrolet celebrating its their centennial that day on Old Woodward, Birmingham (PSD) director John Heiney said this year should be bigger and better than ever.

Other highlights include an appearance by Food Network host Guy Fieri, nearly 300 classic cars and a crowd of 15,000.

The Cruise is hosted by the PSD and various city departments, assistant to the city manager Christian Wuerth said. The event has grown since 2010, said Cmdr. Terry Kiernan. Last year, the car show began at Brown Street but has grown by two blocks this year. The Chevrolet display, he said, will stretch from the 555 building to Lincoln.

According to Heiney, the Birmingham Cruise began in 2009 when the city stopped participating in the Woodward Dream Cruise, which runs directly through Birmingham between 8 Mile Road and Pontiac.

“The city felt that (the) Woodward Dream Cruise Inc. was going in a different direction,” Heiney said. “So Birmingham decided to formally withdraw.”

Still, the city wanted to honor the cruise and the thousands of car enthusiasts who are drawn to the city around Cruise time each August.

“Cruisers still came through the city and Birmingham wanted to continue holding a car show,” Heiney said, who noted that to participate in the Birmingham Cruise, cars must have a model year of 1979 or older.

As for the businesses along Old Woodward, Heiney said he hears nothing but good things for the Cruise.  Who benefits the most? Coffee shops and restaurants.

“Some retail stores choose to close while the Cruise is in town, but others choose to remain open. Coffee shops and restaurants tend to benefit because of the traffic,” he said.

Birmingam Mayor Gordon Rinschler, who holds a party every year in honor of the Dream Cruise and now Birmingham Cruise, said though some businesses are shut down, anything that draws people to the city is a plus.

“I know not all businesses (receive value) from the weekend, but on balance it is a great event for the city," he said.

The Birmingham Cruise will shut most of Old Woodward Avenue in the city, with cars on display from Merrill to Lincoln Street. Chevrolet will set up near the 555 building at Old Woodward and Woodward, and will host WCSX 94.7, which will be broadcasting live all day.

If you go:

  • When: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 20
  • Where: Old Woodward Avenue from Merrill to Lincoln
  • Parking: Available in the city’s five parking garages. Parking is free for the first two hours, and then is $1 an hour after that.
  • For more information: Visit www.birminghamcruiseevent.com or call 248-530-1200

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