Roseville’s Classics on Gratiot not a cruise

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Roseville’s annual classic car event Saturday will not include any cruise whatsoever and instead will feature stationary car shows.

The Roseville Heritage Foundation’s Classics on Gratiot from noon to 8 p.m. will have 25 locations along a four-mile stretch between 10 Mile and 14 Mile after the foundation decided not to hold a cruise because of poor turnout and high expenses for extra police and safety personnel in previous years.

Some extra police officers, however, will be present to ensure safety during the event, Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said.

Owners of classic vehicles may drive to the participating sites to park and display their cars.

“With classic car people, it doesn’t matter if they’re having a car showing where everybody’s just sitting (on the street) watching cars go by or if they’re stopping at the next place to show off their car,” said Judith Warren-Wright, co-founder and secretary of the Roseville Heritage Foundation.

Spectators will not be able to sit on the curb to watch cars drive on Gratiot Avneue, Berlin said.

Officers will be ticketing people who do cruise down Gratiot in groups as though in a parade. Depending on the nature of an unapproved cruise, the fine can range between $100 and $1,000, Berlin said.

For the past three years, the foundation held a cruise on Gratiot.

In 2013, the parade of vehicles and cars exiting Interstate 696 resulted in several fender benders, Warren-Wright said.

The 2015 cruise done on the same day with Eastpointe’s annual cruise hit a bump when roadblocks made it more difficult for people to drive from Eastpointe to Roseville.

In order to hold a formal cruise, the foundation would have had to apply for a cruise permit from the Michigan Department of Transportation through the city of Roseville.

“It doesn’t prohibit someone who is driving their classic car on Gratiot from driving their car,” Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins said.

The family-oriented event is supporting Roseville High School’s DRIVE One, a student organization that promotes the education of teens in vocational skills and trades that restore cars, through T-shirt sales.

“It’s all about building up, helping the high school students,” Warren-Wright said.

Activities include a bounce house, a kids zone, vendors and sidewalk sales. Former Detroit Red Wing Ted Lindsay is scheduled to appear at Dooley’s Irish Tavern, and bars are hosting live music.

Looking forward, Adkins said he hopes cruising will return to Gratiot in future years, but the city will work with the foundation in its efforts to support its community

“Gratiot has a long history of cruising,” Adkins said. “We, as the city of Roseville, would love to see a well-organized cruising event at some point that would mirror the Woodward Dream Cruise from the north starting end of Gratiot all the way to the south.”

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said a vision like that would require cooperation among communities and municipalities.

“I think the opportunity is there,” Hackel said. “When you start to combine and share resources, it can happen.”

Classics on Gratiot kicks off at 11 a.m. with an open ceremony of city and county dignitaries at Macomb Mall near Red Robin.

Gratiot opens at noon for the car show.