Inaugural block party a big hit for Pass Christian

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Cruisin' the Coast continues to shatter registration records. As of Thursday night, 6,847 cars registered for this year's event.  Cruisin' officials said that number surpasses last year by more than 600 vehicles, and is expected to climb even higher. In fact, they already have more than 300 participants registered for next year's event.

You see those cruisers everywhere - along Highway 90, in parking lots, and restaurants and stores.

Hundreds of people packed downtown Pass Christian.  For the first time, the city became an official Cruisin' the Coast venue.  Organizers showed guests the Pass really knows how to party.

With music blaring, and the aroma of food drifting through downtown Pass Christian, Davis Avenue turned into a Cruisin' party destination. One of the visitors was Roger Irion. "We love it, we love Cruisin' the Coast, it's a lot of fun, a lot of people, the weather's beautiful, you couldn't ask for a better time and more hot rods than you'll see anywhere else," the Louisiana man said.

For some 30-plus businesses in the area, the city's first Cruisin' the Coast block party offered them an opportunity to showcase what the Pass has to offer.

Corry Hudson is the owner of Hook Gulf Coast Cuisine. "Fresh seafood, family style and that's what we try to push is fresh, fresh, fresh," he noted. "Oyster season just opened up, so that's the key thing right there, is the oysters."

One of the tasty offerings in Pass Christian came from Cajun Gourmet Catering. Its staffers cooked-up gallons of Gumbalaya - a gumbo, jambalaya, and Creole combination that was well received by customers. "I love it," one cruiser said. "I've always wanted to try it."

Some restaurants opened up at 6:30 and served breakfast.  When the hot rods rolled through, retail shop owners and eateries eagerly welcomed the car buffs.  You won't find any outside vendors here.  Only Pass Christian businesses can set up shop.

Adam Pace organized the city's block party. "Cruisin' the Coast brings $20 million to the coast and South Mississippi and that's a great economic stimulus," Pace said. "We want to be a part of it, it's a great event, it brings people down and lets us show off our hospitality."

The Richeys drove in from Wills Point, Texas in their '68 Pontiac GTO. It was their first visit to the Pass. "I've seen the sign," Glynna Richey said. "But, as my husband said, we never stop because we were on, going to other cruises, we're glad that it's here."

So is the event's director. "It's pretty neat to see all these cars come in, all these people that devote so much time and attention to their cars," said Pace. "They love to show them off, we love to see them, it's a perfect marriage of Pass Christian."

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.