Pontiac — City officials and business owners expect a new festival ahead of the Woodward Dream Cruise will showcase downtown Pontiac as an entertainment destination once again.
The city, which is experiencing significant investments following years of decline and losing major events, will host Pontiac Power Week from Aug. 17-20, culminating with the Woodward Dream Cruise.
“There’s so much investment and resurgence going on in Pontiac. Bringing Pontiac Power Week here in a big way and stepping up this event is a way to bring that excitement as well as that interest in what’s going on in Pontiac,” said Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman following an event Wednesday with city officials and community leaders. “We want to make people know that this is a destination city.”
Pontiac Power Week events will stretch from the city’s downtown — the official top “loop” of the Woodward Dream Cruise — down Woodward to the M1 Concourse, a new auto enthusiast location featuring car condos and a 1.5-mile race track.
The events will unofficially kick off on Aug. 14 with the ceremonial grand opening of the M1 Concourse, which has been hosting events and festivals since June. The 87-acre site will host the most anticipated event of the week, Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge, on the eve of the Woodward Dream Cruise on Aug. 19.
The event will shut down a portion of Woodward for amateur flashlight drag-racing as well as a significant number of events inside M1 Concourse: thrill rides with professional drivers in Dodge Viper SRT and Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat models, a Show ’n’ Shine area, live music, fireworks, food trucks and stunts and exhibitions from YouTube auto show “Roadkill.”
“That event is probably going to be one of the best in the world,” said M1 Concourse founder and CEO Brad Oleshansky, adding they expect 20,000-30,000 people. “It’s going to really redefine Pontiac and the types of events we can do in this town.”
In 2015, more than 10,000 people attended the free event in the massive parking lot of the vacated Pontiac Silverdome. It included hundreds of classic and custom cars, muscle and performance car thrill rides and hours of drag races.
The M1 Concourse is on the northwest corner of South Boulevard and Woodward. It was previously home to the General Motors Validation Facility, which was torn down in 2008. Before that, it was the site of the Pontiac West assembly plant.
Parking for the event will include downtown Pontiac with shuttles to M1 Concourse, helping showcase hundreds of millions of dollars in recent investments — from new restaurants to significant investments from major downtown businesses such as McLaren Oakland Medical Center.
“These events have been designed specifically to connect those dots and drive people downtown,” Oleshansky said.
The downtown festivities will feature music acts such as Beatlemania Live and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels as well as more than a dozen local artists; free arts & crafts from Arts & Scraps in a special kids area sponsored by St. Joseph Mercy Oakland; and the Pontiac Power Week Classic Car Show Aug. 19 and 20.
“This will be the top of the Woodward Dream Cruise,” said Jon Witz, Pontiac Power Week producer and founder and producer of the Arts Beats & Eats festival that moved from Pontiac to Royal Oak in 2010.
Witz, president of Jonathan Witz & Associates event management, said it’s great to be back in Pontiac, especially with the resurgence occurring in the city’s downtown.
“It’s on the way but there is still a lot of work to be done in the downtown,” he said. “Events like this help keep the real estate and business momentum going.”
Pontiac Power Week
Aug. 14:■Official opening of M1 Concourse car condos and race track. Activities include Car and Driver Magazine Cars and Coffee from 8-11 a.m.
Aug. 17: ■More than 1,000 Chevrolet Corvettes are expected to hit the pavement of the M1 Concourse from 2-7 p.m.. The show will include parade laps on the track and a cruise around downtown Pontiac.
■Wisner Car Show will take place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Wisner Stadium. Show will feature classic cars, trucks, food and more. Car registration is $10 the day of the event.
■Kelly Miller Circus will be at Wisner Stadium. Show times are 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., with a free behind-the-scenes tour at 9 a.m. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for kids ($16 for adults and $8 for kids the day of the show).
Aug. 18:■Optima Ultimate Film Festival Drive-in Movie will be a celebration of automotive content from 6:30 p.m.- 10 p.m. on the M1 Concourse skid pad.
Aug. 19: Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge will take over M1 Concourse and shut down a portion of Woodward from noon to 10 p.m. There will be drag racing, live music, display shows, Show n’ Shine Area and more.
Musical lineups in downtown Pontiac
Soaring Eagle Stage- Water and Saginaw Streets
10 a.m.-noon DJ playing classic hits
Noon-1:15 p.m. Mike Vial
2 -3:15 p.m. Jeff Canady & The Soul Nyce Band
4-5:15 p.m. The Dirk Kroll Band
6-7:15 p.m. Larry Lee & Back in the Day
8-10 p.m. Beatlemania Live
Flagstar Stage- Saginaw and M-59
10-11:30 a.m. DJ playing classic hits
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. BlueBlaze
1:15-2:15 p.m. Charles E. Anthony
3-4 p.m. Perscilla Price
4:45-6 p.m. Eliza Neals & The Narcotics
6:45-8 p.m. Big Pappa & The Machine
Soaring Eagle Stage
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. DJ playing classic hits
12:30-1:45 p.m. Ulterior Motive
2:30-3:45 p.m. Greta Van Fleet
4:30-5:45 p.m. Acoustic Madness
6:30-8 p.m. Notorious
8:45 - 10 p.m. Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
10-11:30 a.m. DJ playing classic hits
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ButterHair
1:15-2:15 p.m. The Hi-Views
3-4 p.m. Tripp N Dixie
4:45-6 p.m. Yvette Meadows
6:45-8 p.m. The Howling Diablos