Despite the heat and humidity, crowds turn out for Gratiot Cruise – Macomb Daily

With barely a breeze blowing and temperatures below 90 degrees, the Clinton Township Gratiot cruise felt like a steam bath on Sunday.

But the organizers, participants and observers did not seem to care.

“The heat and humidity sparked a lot of conversation, but it didn’t stop anyone from going out today,” said Jim Tignanelli, cruise chairman. “That’s the largest number of people I’ve ever seen on Gratiot at 2 p.m. on a Sunday. It’s packed.

Co-Chair Bob Roehl agreed: “The meteorologist said we have a chance of rain. You can see by the number of cars people will try their luck to get out.

A 1957 Chevy Nomad drives down Gratiot Avenue in Clinton Township on Sunday. (DAVE ANGELL — FOR THE DAILY MACOMB)

Macomb County’s largest auto show saw a day-long procession of vintage vehicles, hot rods, tractors, motorcycles and other wheeled contraptions up and down South Gratiot Avenue. Rain was in the forecast, but the first showers were delayed until the end of the event.

Due to ongoing road construction, the cruise has been shortened to go from Quinn Road, near the Target shopping center, to Wendell Street, just north of 16 Mile Road. It usually goes from 14 Mile Road to Wellington Crescent. The organizers think it will be the same next summer.

Many drivers said there were no precautions to take to guard against overheating. That’s why parking lots hosting static car displays seemed busier than usual.

Chuck Murray with his wife Jordan and daughter Teagan enjoy watching cars sit in the shade.  (DAVE ANGELL -- FOR THE MACOMB DAILY)
Chuck Murray with his wife Jordan and daughter Teagan enjoy watching cars sit in the shade. (DAVE ANGELL — FOR THE DAILY MACOMB)

Joe Monteleone, 53, of Trenton, who drove his 1991 burgundy F250 pickup truck to the show. says he’s happy to see his 15-year-old son start paying attention to the details of car design. This means that there is a new generation of “reducers” in the works.

“He actually looks at other older cars, looks at the lines, the color combinations,” he said. “It’s not the power of a car, it’s the look. I hope it will continue. »

With a front-row view of vehicles cruising Gratiot from a lawn chair outside cruise headquarters near 16 Mile Road, Myron Dixon, 49, of Roseville, said he owned a hot rod, but that he loved the energy of the crowd.

“I loved seeing the cars and the crazy things people do to dress them up. Some of these guys are pretty creative,” he said.

Stephanie Mittelstedt, who works for the Clinton Township government, recalled the days of walking to the end of Remick Street with her husband and daughters to watch cars go by on Gratiot Cruise Sunday.

“Like I said, this is about the next generation, so if we can’t educate these kids and get them excited about what’s going on, this event is going to slowly slip away,” he said. she declared.

“We don’t want that to happen.”

Engine for KBW Hot Rods
Two men observe a monster vehicle sponsored by Kreative Body Werks in the Bravado parking lot. (DAVE ANGELL — FOR THE DAILY MACOMB)

Now in its 20th year, the Gratiot Cruise hosted a bunch of street parties along the way with live bands, activities, exhibits, raffles, static car displays and refreshments.

The Clinton Township Department of Parks and Recreation has taken over the regional mall parking lot. It was packed with families and other people walking around, trying out the free activities and watching a three-way gang battle.

Tignanelli, the cruise’s chairman, said that even with the shortened route, he felt the avenue was the busiest in the past decade. He said the original intention of the cruise was not to hold a car show, but rather a way to attract potential customers to businesses and restaurants in South Gratiot.

“We are now seeing the fruits of our labor,” he said. “The plumbing guy has a car show. The pizzeria has a show. Lover’s Lane has a car show. There’s someone selling stuff in front of every building. It would never have happened here on a Sunday without this show.

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