Cruise Central sends cruisers home happy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Cruise Central sends cruisers home happy

Cruisin' the Coast participants and fans enjoy some time to relax at Cruise Central in Gulfport on the last day. (Photo source: WLOX) Cruisin' the Coast participants and fans enjoy some time to relax at Cruise Central in Gulfport on the last day. (Photo source: WLOX)

Cruise Central at Centennial Park was busy Sunday. It was the last time for Cruisin' the Coast participants to show off their classic rides, share stories, and pre-register for next year's event. Some picked up last-minute memorabilia, while others enjoyed live music and said thank you to the volunteers who helped make the event a success.

Cruisin' officials have an economic impact study conducted every five years; The next should be in 2016. But Director Woody Bailey is already excited about this year's results. He said the impact in 2011 was $19.6 million for the three coast counties, and $21.2 million to the state.

Bailey already has a few improvements in mind. One obvious issue is traffic, and one solution is to stretch things out.

"We're trying to disperse it in the nighttime and where we can have some impact on moving the events from east to west and keeping that traffic flow going is important," he said. "I don't want to mess with our formula too much, but I want to keep adding things and making this event better."

Chevis Swetman, chairman of the board, would like to study one possibility that could give the event a new twist.

"One of the things I think about is that you've got all the availability in the small craft harbors. Why not tie cruising in to some of these boats?" Swetman asked.

Jim Reed from Omaha, Nebraska is a first-time participant, but has experienced shows all over the country. He said Cruisin' the Coast is better than any others, except for one thing:

"We did find one map that was kind of detailed, but it's such a small print. They should make it a little bigger print, because we had to stop and get a magnifying class."

A full analysis of this year's Cruisin' will be done in about a month.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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