Another Year Of Cruisin The Coast Comes To An End

Cruisers were armed with umbrellas and decked out in rain gear during the final hours of Cruisin' the Coast at Rice Pavilion Sunday morning.

Organizers say this was the wettest Cruisin' in the event's nine-year history.

The rain didn't let up as Cruisers' started rolling' out at the end of this seven day event.

Even through the pouring rain, it was clear to see Cruisin' the Coast was coming to an end Sunday morning.

Dark clouds and high winds from Matthew accompanied Coast Cruisers on their way home.

However, the event's director says the recent bad weather didn't do much to dampen the enthusiasm of these vintage car lovers.

"It was just an inconvenience. These people are loyal. They've hung out. They've spent money, and the economy's still benefited tremendously," Event Director Gene Oswalt said.

Oswalt says he's pleased with this year's turnout in light of all the challenges that sprung up this year.

Gene Oswalt, Cruisin' Director:

"Considering three tropical storms from Florida, the gas prices throughout the year, and the weather forecast for this week. We're very fortunate," he said.

Organizers are already looking forward to next year, the tenth anniversary of Cruisin' the Coast. Although they know they can't control Mother Nature, they're already making plans for next year's event.

"With it being the tenth year, we're thinking about all sorts of ideas. Here down on the coast, we have a blessing of the animals, a blessing of the fleet, we're thinking about maybe blessing the cruisin' cars," Cruisin' Chairman Chemise Sweatband said.

Event organizers are now about to embark on a mission of their own, assessing the economic impact this year's event had on South Mississippi.

"One thing we're doing this year, we're doing an economic development study, to find out what is the financial impact on the community," Sweatband said.

This report is set to be released in six to eight weeks.

5,365 cars registered for this year's event

That's 136 cars less than last year.

Aswan says 440 cars were not able to be registered this year.

He says that's because the vehicles did not meet a new rule requiring all cars to be 25 years or older to participate.