2006 Cruisin' the Coast is History
It will be another year before Cruisin' the Coast returns to delight residents and fill area hotels. The 2006 Cruisin' the Coast ended Sunday at the Rice Pavilion grounds at Jones Park in Gulfport, a success despite the Coast's Katrina-destroyed ambiance.
Cruisin’ The Coast official attendance: 4,515 cars and between 12,000-15,000 people attending according to Chris Smilek, a Biloxi CPA and the official records keeper for CTC. Cruisin' the Coast is estimated to have a $10 million impact on the Coast's economy.
“This year’s attendance was nearly as big as we had in 2004 when we topped 5,200 vehicles and had to limit registered vehicles to pre-’72,” says Smilek. “It’s a terrific turnout. This is the first time we’ve a had a full week if nice weather since Cruisin’ The Coast began in 1996.”
Cruisin' will only get to be a bigger and better event as the Coast's reconstruction begins to take shape. Even though there wasn't as much to see, the lack of amenities is only temporary, and in a strange way, the effects of Katrina have their own fascination. There are already bright spots. The Coast's golf clubs are back up and the casinos are humming again.
Then there is that special Coast hospitality and ambiance that is the area's best feature. Katrina didn't take that away. Many cruisers managed to find many of the Coast's local restaurants that had moved inland since the hurricane. (Photo right shows Cruisers just arriving at Jones Park Sunday)
Cruisin' the Coast is a reminder that the Coast is a special place to visit, and live.
The following are some more photos of the event.
The winner of the Director's Cup for Cruisin' the Coast was Glenn and Doris Gerlach of Hovre Springs, MO, (photo left), who drove more than 11 hours to attend this year’s CTC event—their 4th. It paid off when Gene Oswalt, CTC Executive Director, voted their ’57 Chevy Belair Convertible his favorite of the event and awarded the couple the coveted Director’s Cup.
Keeping these cars clean is nearly a full time job. Everyone had dusting mops to brush off the dust that was a regular phenomenon at the grass and dirt parking lot at the Rice Pavillion.
If there was an award for the best burnout of the week, it would be this one in Waveland Thursday. The driver put on a set of old tires and smoked them 'till they blew. You can see the tire tread separating in this photo.
In the photos below, are typical scenes all along the Beach highway in Biloxi and Gulfport. Visitors set up along the road to watch the custom cars as they drive by, like during Mardi Gras on the Mississippi Coast