Woodward Dream Cruise
Classic American muscle and nostalgia for the pastimes and hangouts of a bygone era are what the Woodward Dream Cruise is all about. In its short, 23-year history, this one-day event has established itself as an essential affair for car lovers and families from around the world. In fact, it’s the world’s single largest one-day car event, and brings in a greater number of people each year.
Every August, around one and a half million spectators and forty thousand classic car owners gather along the stretch of Woodward Avenue spanning from 8 Mile in Detroit to Pontiac to take part in the Dream Cruise, and celebrate automotive history, another year passed, and summer in metro Detroit.
We all know a classic car lover, and for those in the metro Detroit area with a passion for American automotive history, the Dream Cruise is their Superbowl, and something they look forward to year-round.
The event has become much more than a simple parade of cars. Today, it’s a celebration of Motor City history and Americana, and features food trucks, special events and live entertainment for families to enjoy.
It’s hard to believe that the Woodward Dream Cruise is only 23 years old, as it seems cemented in the life of metro Detroit residents.
It began in 1995, as a small fundraising effort by Nelson House and a small group of other volunteers. While the local government anticipated thirty to forty thousand spectators the day, they got nearly ten times that number, with 250,000 people in attendance for the first annual Dream Cruise.
House thought that it would gain traction as a means of nostalgia for local residents who grew up in the area in the age of American muscle, when cruising Woodward was a regular pastime for young people. Like a scene out of American Graffiti, young locals would cruise the Avenue, stopping in at the local Drive-In movie theaters, car dealerships, and restaurants.
Growing from a grassroots charity event organized by Nelson House into a behemoth of an event, the Dream Cruise as we know it today entails so much more than a simple parade of vehicles up Woodward Avenue. It spans over more-than seven cities and each has their own special events to offer, including food trucks, private charity events, live entertainment, and special functions and areas for kids to enjoy.
Today it attracts around one and a half million spectators each year. The Cruise not only features classic cars, although that is one of the primary attractions. Everyone who has a vehicle that represents his or her individuality is welcome to drive along the stretch of Woodward. The majority of the vehicles are classics however and most are from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
If you’re a classic car lover, and don’t mind crowds, be sure to check out the Woodward Dream Cruise at least once. Whether you're attending the Dream Cruise, or just thinking of it in spirit of the season transitioning into late August in Michigan, Northern Nail Polish's "Dream Cruise" is a classic coral red color inspired by the old automobile paint - a common sight during the event.
About the article author: Bryan Finnigan is a Michigander and a professional journalist and copywriter. He's passionate about history, the outdoors, and lifetime learning.