By Jonathan Brannan| October 5, 2014 at 9:16 PM CDT - Updated July 21 at 1:40 AM
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX)
The festivities of Cruisin' the Coast have officially kicked off and taken over the Mississippi coastline, but they had to start somewhere.
Thousands of cars rolled into Gulfport early Sunday morning. The official kick-off site was the Hardy Court Shopping Center.
This is year 18 for the parking lots at Hardy Court to be filled with tires, steel and thousands of people. Allen Strange has been volunteering for the event for quite some time.
"Don't get tired of it at all. It's always enjoyable," said Strange.
Part of the attraction is a reminder of times gone by.
"Brings back a lot of memories," said Strange.
Standing at the gate, Strange gets to see a wide variety of vehicles.
"Very rarely do you see any duplicate cars," Strange said.
That's something that Cruisin' officials are proud of. It's also a reason that fans keep coming back.
Fans like six-time Cruiser Mike Ramsey, from Texas. He took a '69 Camaro and added his own flare to it, and he doesn't let it sit. He loves coming to Cruisin' just so he can take it for a week-long spin.
"I mean, that's why you build a car. I'd rather get in the car and cruise it around," said Ramsey.
A few cars down, a '64 Chevy is almost unrecognizable. In fact, it even goes by a different name; The Rat Rod.
"If you can't have fun, don't come," said Mike Murray, owner and creator of the truck.
It took Murray more than nine years to build, and the truck showcases statues, figurines, unconventional safety features and even a sign you probably won't see on any other vehicle here.
"Please touch, instead of don't touch my vehicle," said Murray, while holding up a dangling piece of cardboard over his windshield.
He loves to bring his creation to Cruisin' every year to provide a little more entertainment for enthusiasts.
"Make it unique and different, lets kids enjoy it. We take it to schools, a lot of parades. Kids love it," said Murray.
It's not just kids who get a kick out of it.
"Oh, it's great. He's got a little bit of everything on there," said one spectator. "It's wild, I love it," said another.
Once the cruisers left the Hardy Court parking lot, they headed to downtown Gulfport for View the Cruise.