Local Experiences

Cruisin' The Coast Celebrates 21 Years The Largest Festival in the State of Mississippi

8/10/2017 | Tricia LeAnn

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Cruisin' The Coast is a festival to beat all festivals that celebrates a passion for cars, whether it be antique cars, classic cars or hot rods, and all the activities that surround everyone’s love of cruising down the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast. You’ll find your favorite activities like cruise-ins, a swap meet, headline bands & oldies entertainment, the CTC/Vicari Auto Auction, raffles, celebrity guest appearances, parades and much more.

Mark your calendar for the week of October 1 – 8, a week-long festival covering 9 cities along the Gulf Coast. Event venues will include casinos, parades, block parties, auctions, shopping, and more. Visit Cruise Central in Gulfport, where you can register for the 29-mile run, and get all the info you need to plan your excursion.

New this year on Sunday, October 1, you can catch "Cruisin' Through the Decades”, in the City of Gautier, from 11am-5pm. And on Thursday, October 5, don’t miss "Burn'em Up in the Pass”, in the City of Pass Christian, from 5-8pm.

On Sunday October 8, there will be 40 cash drawings of $500 each, totaling $20,000. A main event is the 2017 Make-A-Wish Raffle which is an antique 1936 Ford Pickup. To participate in the Make-A-Wish raffle, the ticket price is (1) one for $10, (3) three for $25. Shortly after the drawing you’ll want to stick around for the unveiling of next year’s 2018 Raffle. All proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Cruisin' The Coast.

If you want to meet a celebrity, now’s your chance. Many celebrity appearances will be scattered throughout the week, including Dennis Gage, of the TV program "My Classic Car,” as 2017 Master of Ceremonies. Celebrity Cristy Lee, of All Girls Garage TV show, car enthusiast, biker and model will make guest appearances on Sunday-Wednesday. Celebrity Courtney Hansen, of Overhaulin’ TV, syndicated columnist, published author, and model will make guest appearances on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Attend Cruisin' The Coast you will fall in love with the people, the weather, and the activities. Festival season occurs during the fall months and you will become part of a trend that is helping create a positive impact on southern Mississippi transforming people who are first time visitors into those who plan return visits during other times of the year. Established in 1996 Cruisin' The Coast helped to forge the way for a movement of festivals to fill in the gaps on activity calendars in every coastal city year-round. With festival season now in place the Gulf Coast no longer has a downtime.

Many people remember the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and how it was back then. After Labor Day things along the coast would slow way down. The leaves would start to change and the temperature would drop. Tourists would fade away with the summer sun and a typical slow time would linger over the businesses of our coastal cities until Mardi Gras rolled around. Not anymore. During the mid-1990's several business owners and casino executives combined creative thoughts on a new concept idea. The mission was simple; to help generate economy during the down time of the Gulf Coast. The goal was to create a festival style event to help economic development and bring growth to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

In 1996, 374 vehicles registered for Cruisin' The Coast that first year. Celebrating the 20th Anniversary in 2016 they were just short of 8k for the number of registered cruisers with 650 first time visitors to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. The numbers keep growing as they prepare for 8,500 cruisers, over 4,600 car enthusiasts are pre-registered from 38 states some traveling as far as Puerto Rico and Canada for this year's 21st annual event.

The impact Cruisin' The Coast gives to our area is confirmed in an empirical assessment of the economic impact of the 2016 Cruisin' The Coast prepared by The Bradley Research Group, LLC an Applied Research and Decision Analytics Firm. For the Mississippi Gulf Coast counties, in 2016 Cruisin' The Coast generated additional revenue of $26,128,467. It is the largest festival in the state of Mississippi. The non-local registrants and spectators economic impact of Cruisin' The Coast on Government Total Tax Revenues for 2016 was $1,946,217.

With a festival of this magnitude it takes many volunteer hours to secure all goes well. 11 host car clubs stretching from Slidell, LA across the Gulf Coast all the way to the other side of the Alabama state line come to help. Over 600 volunteers are known as the "yellow shirts" of the festival. With their support this is one of the safest festivals for families to attend. Spot them quickly at the festival and feel welcomed by their coastal hospitality.

Registration is now open and whether you drive your RV, your sports car, vintage roadster, a rat rod or the family SUV, hit the highway and join us on the Gulf Coast for the 21st Annual Cruisin’ the Coast, October 1 – 8.

To register and find maps, reservations, schedules, and more information visit www.cruisinthecoast.com.

Tricia LeAnn