The Woodward Dream Cruise officially takes place August 18th, though unofficially starts a good week, week and a half prior to that. The cruise has always been a love/hate relationship in this region. Some, like myself, will be attending for the 12th year straight, only missing the first year the cruise was held. Others plan their yearly vacation around the event, as it's nothing but an annoyance to them. What I find shocking is that for those who live downtown, seldom do those people complain when traffic is backed up for hockey, baseball, football, parades, fireworks, festivals, or concerts. Yet north of here, you inconveniece some people for a week along a historic stretch of roadway, and you'll have some hollerin' bloody murder!
Today's paper reports an effort to expand the cruise into Detroit, making it more of a regional event, Cruise Looks Towards Detroit. In the past, I felt that expanding into Detroit made little sense, as the stretch of Woodward is less cruise friendly since there are few parking lots, less businesses and really not much to do. Today's plan however changes my opinion, as it sounds that they aren't focusing so much on just the cruise strip as they are the events surrounding Dream Cruise week, creating an automotive themed Mardi Gras.
Think about if the Big 3 all got involved on a larger scale, with each hosting a car show at their HQ's during the week of the event, displaying all makes and models from over the decades, while also giving the public a look at current and future plans vehicles and technologies. Imagine if Greenfield Village established a huge car show on their grounds, as they do each summer anyways, but one specific to the Dream Cruise. Advertise the Ford Rouge tours to the cruisers in town, perhaps even extending the hours of the tours for the visitors. Any gearhead would enjoy The Henry, as well as the Automotive Hall of Fame, Walter P. Chrysler Museum, and the Ford Pauquette plant. Arrange all these events during the week of the cruise, saving Saturday for the big day of the event itself. Perhaps such a move would have a great impact on lessening the congestion up there as well. Make each car show held elsewhere like a festival, perhaps even lasting multiple days.
This cruise has truly grown into a monster, yet it often seems to have grown into an unorganized monster, not fully capitalizing on all it's money making possibilities. We already have the North American International Auto Show, as well as the Autorama, which is amonst the best shows on the tour. Why not take this Cruise to a higher level, utilizing our theatres downtown, our automotive HQ's, and other means to truly make this event a serious money maker for our region? Hell, why not host a Monster Truck event as Ford Field, with Ford kicking back some of the money to help communities pay for security for the cruise itself. Tack on a $1-$2 charge on all tickets related to the Dream Cruise, as I'm sure few people would complain about a few dollar charge going to a good cause.