Cruisin' continues to rebound from Hurricane Katrina

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Krystal Allan – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Organizers say Cruisin' the Coast 2010 was cranking on all cylinders.  Highway 90 stayed busy during the week and was packed during the final weekend of the event.

The event saw 300 more cars this year, a total of 4,854 classics, according to event organizers.  They say this year brought more first time visitors to the coast.  There were also more people returning for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

"Big crowds, every venue, every activity we did this week," said Woody Bailey, Executive Director of Cruisin' the Coast.

Bailey said word of mouth goes a long way in getting more people to the event. And another factor beyond their control played a major part in the event's success this year.

"From a local standpoint and regional standpoint, I think the weather forecast really helped out."

Advertising locally and nationally for the event, Bailey said, also brought in the cruisers.  For national coverage, Bailey said they rely heavily on national magazines and trade publications.

Organizers are already looking ahead to next year.  They've used BP Grant money, aimed at helping coast tourism, to book Dennis Gage as a pitchman for the event.  He's an industry aficionado and host of "My Classic Car" on the Speed Network.

"The commercials won't be talking specifically about the car and the mechanics of the car. It's gonna be talking about the Gulf Coast as a destination. It'll be telling the Cruisin' the Coast story through Dennis Gage.  A lot folks who have these classic cars look up to and admire him."

Bailey said as of Sunday, 790 car owners had already pre-registered for next year's event.

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