Cruisers Return For 11th Block Party

According to hotel executives, there are plenty of hotel rooms available for the early part of Cruisin the Coast. But by the time the bulk of the crowd arrives next weekend, hotel reservations are quickly disappearing. Cruisin organizers say the classic car showcase is getting back to where it was before the storm.

The mechanics at Klein's Mufflers are pretty busy these days.  They've worked on 37 cars going to Cruisin the Coast since July 31.

"We stay so busy working on customers' cars this time of the year, we really don't have time to work on our own vehicles," garage owner Eddie Klein said. "So we do the best that we can."

Every free moment they get, they tune up their own classics. And then they take them out for a spin.

"If you're a hot rodder, you like doing both of them. You work on it so you can drive it," said Klein. Klein is a Cruisin the Coast regular. He's been at each of the 11 block parties.

Becky Burdeshaw is also a Cruisin regular. She owns a 1968 Ford convertible But she has the added responsibility of being the event's registration director.

"It snuck up on us fast," she said, when asked about how planning for the event was going.

Starting Sunday, 3,044 pre-registered car buffs, and hundreds of last minute attendees will roll into town. They'll be in vintage cars like this sleek looking Camaro, and classics like the 1937 Lincoln Zephyr that pulled into Jones Park.

"I like the beautiful lines on it," Kunz said.

He bought his car five years ago, and immediately began rebuilding it. Next week, Kunz will share his car with car buffs just like him.

Burdeshaw can't wait to see it.

"I have a passion for it. I love old cars," she said. "I love the people that drive the old cars. We're a large family that takes the whole, not just the coast in, but the whole country in."

Cruisin the Coast's opening event is Sunday afternoon outside the Choice Supermarket in Gulfport. One of the highlights this year is the return of Cruisin the Coast's kickoff parade through Long Beach. That starts Monday night at 5:30. Organizers had to cancel last year's parade because of hurricane damage along the parade route.