More than 5,100 classic car enthusiasts from 44 states and Canada are pre-registered for the 22nd annual Cruisin’ the Coast, and Jackson County is revving up for a greater showing this year.
“Those are good numbers for us,” Cruisin’ the Coast Executive Director Woody Bailey said. “We’re on track with last year.” Moss Point, Pascagoula, Gautier and Ocean Springs are all bringing back their Cruisin’ events, with a few changes. “Pascagoula is going to be moving to Beach Park for their event, and we think that’s going to be a terrific venue for Cruisin’ the Coast,” Bailey said. “It’s so neat to see the other cities and the county come aboard,” he said. “Moss Point’s event is called Cruisin’ the River City, and it’s become very popular.” Gautier’s event is on Sept. 30, the first Sunday of Cruisin’ the Coast. That event, in its second year, is called Cruisin’ Through the Decades.
“We had a great turnout there last year, and we’re expecting a good turnout this year,” Bailey said of the Gautier event, which takes place on U.S. 90 adjacent to Belk. Pascagoula not only gets a new venue this year, but it also gets an expanded event.“Pascagoula is now going to a three-day stamping venue,” Bailey said. “That’s going to be even more impact for Jackson County.”
The Cruisin’ organization completes an economic impact study every five years. In 2016, it was estimated that the event generated a $26.5 million economic impact in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. “A lot of people over here in Jackson County are spending money,” Bailey said.
While the overall Cruisin’ schedule will look very similar to last year’s event, “we’re working to improve it any way we can, and hoping for a good turnout, hopefully good weather,” Bailey said. “It should be a super event for this year,’ he said.
One of the event’s biggest needs is volunteers, Bailey said. Historically, Cruisin’ has relied on car clubs from state line to state line, he said, but the need for volunteers grows each year. “We’re launching a volunteer group called the Cruisin’ Krewe to help direct traffic, help with registration, and do computer work,” he said, noting volunteer information and applications are available online at www.cruisinthecoast.com.
“We’ll try to work with you and place you in a good spot,” he said. “The people of the Gulf Coast are tremendous ambassadors for this event. We want people to come out and support the event and enjoy the event. Bring your kids out, and help us with the event however you think you can.”