Saturday was a good day for the 2012 Woodward Dream Cruise and downtown's Birmingham Cruise Event, organizers and police say.
According to Cmdr. Terry Kiernan, police made no Dream Cruise-related arrests in Birmingham on Saturday and only wrote 18 tickets during the day-long car show, which began at 9 a.m. and kept on rolling long into the night.
Birmingham Police pulled out all the stops patrolling the event, calling in all regular officers and 80 percent of the department's auxiliary force.
During the day, police wrote cruisers 18 tickets for various violations, including:
- Inappropriate equipment
- Minor accidents, such as cars rear-ending each other
- Open intoxication
- Excessive noise (issued for cars squealing their tires, Kiernan said)
- Running red lights
- Lack of insurance
- Lack of driver's license
As for shutting down the Dream Cruise, Kiernan said police aren't usually worried even when traffic is still heavy past the 9 p.m. shutdown time. To close the Cruise, police typically shut down intersections — Birmingham shuts down 14 Mile and Woodward — and direct people onto side streets.
"By 9 p.m., there are very, very few classic cars left," Kiernan said. "By 10:30, we had nearly everyone cleared out."
More than 300 cars, including 20 car clubs, participate in Birmingham Cruise
Meanwhile, on South Old Woodward, (PSD) Director John Heiney said the fourth annual Birmingham Cruise Event was more popular than ever.
Usually, Heiney said the PSD estimates between 15,000-20,000 car fans come to downtown Birmingham for the city's own Cruise Event, held every year for the past four years the same day as the Dream Cruise. This year — particularly with the sunny and cool weather — Heiney said he's confident they had more than 20,000 in attendance.
In total, 20 car clubs — ranging from five cars to 35 cars — participated in the Birmingham Cruise Event this year, bringing the total number of participating cars to more than 300.
Around 40 cars that hadn't registered beforehand turned up the day of, Heiney said, though volunteers were able to accomodate everyone who had a car to show off.
"It was an oustanding day," Heiney said. "It really brought a lot of people out."
The downtown event, which shut down South Old Woodward between Lincoln and Merrill, shuttered many Birmingham businesses for the day. However, Heiney said many downtown restaurants — from casual dining spots like coffee shops to established bistros — saw an uptick in foot traffic, especially as the evening wore on.
"Having our downtown be just a block away from Woodward, people can get away from the Dream Cruise but also be close," Heiney said. "I think it's an ideal situation."
Check out everything Birmingham Patch wrote on the Dream Cruise and the Birmingham Cruise Event at 2012 Woodward Dream Cruise.