Organizers say Cruisin' 2009 rolls to success

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Cruisin' the Coast 2009 is in the history books. The week long car show featuring thousands of classic cars wrapped up Sunday in Gulfport. Organizers talked about how things went and the changes they may make next year.

As classic cars rolled through the Gulfport VA property, first time participant Monica Lee said she was impressed by the massive number of cars and how smoothly the week long event ran.

"It seems to be very well organized," said Lee of Bolton, MS. "I was bit surprised by that. The flow of traffic, considering the amount of traffic, has went smoothly."

In all 4,508 classic cars were registered for Cruisin' this year. Organizers say that's an increase from last year and a bit closer to the 5,000-plus participants that came before Katrina.

Chevis Swetman is president of the Cruisin' board.

"This is wonderful. Each and every year we've had some other obstacle," Swetman said. "One year we had the bridges out. The next year, Highway 90 being repaved. This year we had to relocate the site to this location. But I think getting the feedback from everybody, I think everybody likes this site."

Julie Williams of Long Beach said she would like to see Cruisin' back at the Gulfport VA.

"It's a great location," Williams said. "You've got all these oak trees and when it's hot like we have down here, you can get underneath the oak trees and have a cool breeze from the Gulf."

Organizers say it's too early to say whether Cruisin' headquarters will be at the VA or Jones Park next year. That could depend on construction schedules. Organizers are already looking ahead to how to promote next year's party.

"One of the things we're hoping to try to do is get a broader base and get more people down," Swetman said. "One thing we have been noticing is a number of campers and travel trailers on the beach.  I think the word is starting to get out since we're a drive in market. I think we're a wonderful cost alternative for people to come in and have a good time."

Organizers say by mid-morning, more than 700 people had pre-registered for next year's Cruisin' the Coast.

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