GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Sweet Sixteen is especially sweet for Cruisin' the Coast. Organizers said after 16 years of Cruisin', they can finally brag about registering 6,000 classic cars. They said it took a lot of hard work to get this far.
When Ellis and Joyce Martin went to register their 1964 and a half Mustang for Cruisin' The Coast, the Plaquemine, LA, couple had no idea the classic car was making Cruisin' history.
"My heart stopped a few minutes when everybody started jumping around me," said Ellis Martin. "I thought I did something wrong."
Cruisin' officials said they are thrilled to finally reach 6,000. They said one reason this event is gaining popularity is that here cruisers actually get to cruise around which isn't the case at many other car shows.
"A lot of events you go with a car show, you dress your car, you register, you have a place where you set up, and you park," said Lisa Burnett, Cruisin' the Coast registration director. "You're expected to stay there and answer questions from the judges. So you could spend two days sitting there just looking around at the other contestants. Where here you're looking around at beautiful scenery. More cars [owners] than you can think about talking to everybody, but they sure try."
Officials said they owe a lot of thanks to the community for embracing the visitors.
Burnett said, "The community at large supporting us and being out there to welcome our Cruisers to help them, that makes a big difference. They are saying that we have some of the best people that they have ever met. That the hospitality here just comes natural to everyone."
Now that 6,000 is in the rear view mirror, officials must now map out an uncharted future.
"This gives our board and all of us involved in Cruisin' the Coast an opportunity to look at the event. Look at where we're going and where we want to go now that we're at this number,"said Woody Bailey, Cruisin' The Coast Executive Director.
Cruisin' The Coast officials also credit aggressive advertising and a lot of hard working volunteers for pushing them past the 6,000 mark.