And so the Woodward Dream Cruise, the classic car world’s annual rite of summer, concludes anew; a little soggy this year (but nothing a Sham-Wow couldn’t handle). As Executive Director of numerous past Cruises, predicting how the weekend’s weather would shape up was just one of the many questions routinely fielded from media each year.
As our team worked each Cruise to “expand the brand” throughout the country and across the globe (after all, helping the host municipalities underwrite the massive undertaking entailed attracting sponsor dollars in and out market), we began attracting the attention of media the world over – from Germany and the Soviet Union to prominent national media (Speed TV) right here in the U.S. More media = more coverage = more interviews.
Serving as an event spokesperson was actually one of the aspects of the position I enjoyed most. As for the typical questions? One heard often was how gas prices might affect Cruise attendance. Regardless of per gallon fluctuations, out of state visitor numbers, in particular, continued a steady up-tick with caravans from all over the country an ever-increasing dynamic.
What about, we were asked, area retailers along Woodward who felt the Cruise took away business? One had only to look at the big picture and the $50-$100 million in economic impact for the region as a whole. Moreover, many creative, entrepreneurial business minds up and down the route took advantage of the massive crowds (i.e. the hairstylists offering B-Hive dos and the art galleries featuring automotive displays) to achieve positive results.
A recent New York Times blog writer posed the question, oft heard in more recent years, of whether the Cruise might someday permanently feature Detroit. Our Cruise in 2008 made a foray there for the first time. In the article, current Cruise Director Tony Michaels raises a good point regarding geography while other Cruise leadership rightly cite economics. What do you think? I think it will, indeed, happen one day—benefiting the entire Metro area through the underscoring of regional cooperation and full stretch celebration of one of our country’s most historic byways.