Rain Doesn't Dampen Spirit Of Coast Cruisiers

Well, it was a rainy and soggy day six for Cruisin' the Coast, thanks to Tropical Storm Matthew.

Saturday's weather has detoured some cruisers off the road and into local restaurants, shops and casinos.

But, casino executives say it's not unusual for casinos to get overflow from Cruisin' the coast, even when the weather's picture-perfect.

Steve Brown spent Saturday morning wiping down his 1961 Ford Galaxie Starliner.

Mother Nature hasn't been very kind to Cruisers this year, but Brown says that hasn't dampened his spirits.

"Well, we had to stop at all the casinos. They have a cruise-in, so you have to stop and see all the new cars, see what you haven't seen before, go in there, spend a few quarters, check them all out. There's a lot of nice stuff. Eat supper, they've got a great buffet," Brown says.

Austin Miller is the Vice President of Casino Operations for the Grand Casino Gulfport.

He says, despite the rainy days, this annual event is definitely having a positive impact.

"It helps to draw people for the first time, and once they come here, they see the casinos, the hotels and the beaches, everything that there is to do. I think it's really going to have an impact on the tourism season here on the coast," Miller says.

Cruisin' was also credited with making last October the most successful October ever as far as casino gaming revenues go, reeling in 98-million dollars. This event also extends the coast's tourism season into the fall.

"For the most part, I think you can see the impact of Cruisin' the Coast from one end of town to the other. I drove up and down the coast yesterday. The hotels were busy, the retail shops, so it's done what it was intended to do, which is extend out tourist season into the fall. Unfortunately, Mother Nature hasn't exactly cooperated," Miller says.

The bad weather hasn't kept Steve Brown and his wife from thinking Cruisin' is a sure bet.

He says you can expect to see them here for next year's event, come rain or shine.