A 1939 yellow Plymouth sat in the parking lot of a Biloxi inn. It belonged to Georgia native Charlie Ellis. He described Cruisin the Coast this way. "The thrill is taking something, bringing it down here and go anywhere with it and get in it and ride it down the street," he said. "That is payday."
Ellis and his wife are part of a hot rod group called the Ain't Too Old gang. "We ain't too old to have a good time," he said with a smile.
Saturday the Ellis' watched their daughter get married. Sunday, they hooked up with some friends and drove to Biloxi, to get an early start on their Cruisin the Coast fun. He said, "We're making a vacation out of it now. This is our fifth year. And we'll be seven days down here this year."
Despite the recent terrorist attacks, the Georgia couple never considered canceling its Cruisin the Coast vacation. Apparently most of the pre-registered guests attending this even felt the same way. WLOX News checked with hotels and Cruisin the Coast organizers. They've only had a handful of classic car buffs cancel their reservations.
Becky Burdeshaw is one of the people organizing the classic car show. "A lot of the people need this relief," she said, "They need to go ahead and have a normal show go on. So that's what we're looking for."
More than 2,700 people pre-registered for Cruisin the Coast. Once the car show begins Wednesday, up to 4,000 should be here.
Harry Gray drives a 1955 Ford Fairlane. While his wife went shopping, Gray sat in his car and read a book. The Texas man told us, "We have a good time down here. Lots to eat. Good gambling. Good place. And lots of cars."
It's the cars and the friendships that make this annual event a classic. According to Charlie Ellis, "We just all get together and have a good time."
Representatives of the Gulf Coast Hotel and Lodging Association say Cruisin the Coast room reservations this weekend are strong. But, there is room for last minute travelers who need a place to stay.