Page 206 - South Mississippi Living - September, 2021
P. 206

  Welcome to our Silver Anniversary Celebration! It's hard to believe that what started in 1996 with only 374 vehicles, mostly from the Gulf South, has blossomed 25 years later into America’s Largest Block Party: Cruisin’ the Coast (CTC)!
We have had Cruisers come from 44 different states; the farthest away being Alaska (4,523 miles) and Hawaii (4,257 miles). Canada, Germany, Puerto Rico, France and Mexico have all been represented at CTC over the years. We even had some hot rodders from Down Under swing by for the party a few years ago.
Our very first event was four days long, October 10-13, 1996, with only a handful of venues and events. This year, we will be eight days long, have events in 11 cities in three different counties covering
a 40-mile stretch of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We have endured hurricanes, tropical storms, economic depressions, pandemics, location changes and more.
Through it all, the steady hand of our board of directors has served us well. Many of the board members who helped launch Cruisin’ are still with us today. We have said goodbye to Gene and Becky, the original day-to-day leadership of CTC, who worked long days and nights in the offices as well as their kitchens and garages.
Several of our inaugural volunteers have passed and are remembered with affection and gratitude. The original Host Car Clubs were the Antique Auto and Engine Club of Mississippi, Mississippi Coast Mustang Club, Mississippi Gulf Coast Volkswagen Club and the Magnolia Model T Ford Club. When you see our yellow shirts out there, give them a wave. Members of local car clubs represent the thousands that have volunteered over the years to ensure a great, smooth, event. They are the pulse of CTC.
Many of our original sponsors are still with us today, and we thank them all. Patronize them if you can. They make a lot of CTC possible. And, of course, I’d like to take a moment to thank you, our participants – the Cruisers! There have been tens of thousands of you over the years, and we appreciate and thank each and every one of you. Cruisin’ the Coast wouldn’t be much fun without you!
Take a look through the schedule and plan your week. You’ll
find several special events, great entertainment, stamping venues, celebrity appearance schedules, 25th anniversary commemorations, electric cars, planes, and more.
We’ll see you soon,
Woody Bailey
Vice Chairman & Executive Director
photos by
Madeline Simpson
   206 | September 2021 | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living

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