The shiny classic machines are now rolling north east or west. The beer tubs are being stowed and the bandstands taken down. But the memory of the greatest festival the south has to offer will remain in the hearts and on the minds of all who attended. Cruisin the Coast is an incredible event that takes place from state line to state line across the Mississippi Gulf Coast every year during the first week in October. Every town puts on their best face and rolls out the red carpet of southern hospitality as folks come in from nearly all 50 states and beyond. Every year we have the privilege of being front and center at LEE TRACY on the corner of Washington and Government Streets in fabulous Ocean Springs. It’s been called The World’s Largest Block Party. If you were there you know why. Everyone is in the party mood. The cars are the focus but the people are the best crowd anyone could ask to grace their streets and shop their shops. We have so many loyal repeat customers who stop in every year. There are hugs exchanged and news to catch up on. It’ s truly our favorite week! We are exhausted, but feeling blessed to have shared in another great event.
Visitors tell me they love this festival because there is no completion for best of show, no prize or trophy to collect, no pressure, just car talk, live music, fun friendly folks who have a common love and respect for the old classics. I have often wondered, and many times discussed, my concern that in not-too-many years there may be no one to love and appreciate these beautiful machines. What will happen to these cars? Who will love them? There are no computers in them. Nothing interactive or social. No bluetooth handsfree synching. They are simple and require a knowledge few possess to tinker with them. Just as Pelican’s engines require lots of time and TLC to keep them purring the cars of yesterday require the same. The young people of today may not have the patience for such machines. Friday, after just discussing this with one gentleman I was delighted to meet a 10 year old girl who showed me a picture of her dream car and told me she would have that 1976 blue VW beetle as soon as she could drive. So! There may be hope!
Most of our cruisers tend to be in the SaltyatSixty age bracket. Some of our pals who visit every year are actually much older and I get a little twinge as we say farewell every year and hope that they are well enough to return again next year. One addition I noticed this year were the number of bag chairs lining the streets that are actually rocking chairs! Now that might tell you our car buffs are aging! Some told me they no longer drive their prized car down to the coast. Some don’t bother with trailering. But still, car or no car, they come. “We never miss it!” is heard time and time again in conversations that drift down the streets. In the case of the newbies we served this year they assure us as they wave goodbye “We will be back!”