Gear up for the 19th annual Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot
By Bria Brown
Brightly colored vehicles like this Buick Skylark flock to Eastpointe for Cruisin’ Gratiot. This year’s cruise is set for June 17.
Posted June 7, 2017
EASTPOINTE — Rev your engines and admire cars throughout Eastpointe during the 19th annual Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot and a weeklong celebration June 12-17 leading up to the June 17 cruise.
A car show will begin at 3 p.m. Monday, June 12, at Big Boy Restaurant, 22765 Gratiot Ave., and more classic car shows will be happening throughout the week:
• 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, at Cloverleaf Restaurant, 24443 Gratiot Ave.
• 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, at First State Bank, 16100 E. Nine Mile Road.
• 3 p.m. Thursday, June 15, at Villa Restaurant, 21311 Gratiot Ave.
• 3 p.m. Friday, June 16, at East Detroit High School, 15501 Couzens Ave.
• 9 a.m. Saturday, June 17, at East Detroit High School, 15501 Couzens Ave.
On cruise day, there will be an 11 a.m. prayer service, 1 p.m. VIP parade and cruising from 1:30 to 8 p.m.
Cruisin’ Gratiot began in 1999 after Carol Corrie, then-director of the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce, thought it would be good for the city.
“I said, ‘I think it’s a great idea if we have a cruise,’” said Corrie.
Corrie partnered with Eastpointe resident and business owner Jim Winn to start planning the cruise.
“(Winn) set the date because he knew all about when the car cruises were. He set the date the day before Father’s Day, because he said it would be the first cruise of the year,” said Corrie.
According to the Cruisin Gratiot website, www.cruisin-gratiot.com, Thomas Ostrowski, along with then-Police Chief Tom Danbert and then-Inspector Mike Lauretti, were all instrumental in getting a dedicated cruise lane through the Michigan Department of Transportation.
“They pitched to MDOT to close the inside lane the closest to the median. Of all the cruises, no one has a closed lane. We just happen to fit the curriculum. Cruisin’ Gratiot was the only one approved from the state to have a closed lane. As far as I know, we are still the only ones to have it,” said Corrie.
According to Corrie, Cruisin’ Gratiot’s first year only brought out 23,000 people. Now the cruise has grown crowds to about 150,000.
Along with classic car shows throughout the week, there will be a second annual 5K run at Cruisin’ Gratiot. Registration starts at 8 a.m. June 17, and the run will begin at 9 a.m. at the Odd Fellows Hall, 23322 Gratiot Ave.
Registration costs $20 per adult ages 18 and older, and $10 per child ages 10-18. Kids younger than 10 may participate for free with a parent participant.
A slow-roll bike ride will follow the 5K fun run at the Eastpointe Odd Fellows Hall. It has the same registration procedure as the 5K.
The route begins at the Odd Fellows Hall, heads north to Stephens Road and makes a right turn on Almond Avenue heading south. The route will make another right turn heading west on Semrau Avenue back to the Odd Fellows Hall.
This year, the cruise committee wanted to do something different and nominate an Eastpointe father to be the 2017 grand marshal during the cruise June 17.
A press release from the committee last month explained how the grand marshal would be picked.
“President Harvey Curley stated that over the years, the cruise has always been held on the day before Father’s Day in honor of the large number of Eastpointe residents (fathers and grandfathers) who have worked within the automobile manufacturing of the metropolitan Detroit area. This year, the committee staged a contest asking people to submit a letter as to why their father should be the Grand Marshall,” according to the release.
Maia Baker, 9, wrote to the committee to nominate her father, Robert Baker. The committee chose him to be the grand marshal.
Harper Woods Mayor Ken Poynter will provide his 1942 Hudson Commodore convertible for the cruise as the grand marshal’s vehicle.
“To me, it’s an honor to be driving that special father, and I think it was really a great idea for the cruise committee to have it be so special this time around for the Father’s Day being the next day. It gives it a personal touch for the residents of Eastpointe,” said Poynter.
For additional information on Cruisin’ Gratiot, visit www.cruisin-gratiot.com.
About the author
Staff Writer Bria Brown covers Eastpointe and Roseville as well as East Detroit Public Schools and Roseville Community Schools for the Eastsider. Bria has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2016 and graduated from Oakland University.
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