The ground rumbled and the air thundered Saturday as the Woodward Dream Cruise roared through Berkley and Huntington Woods.
The classic car parade and prime people-watching event was expected to attract 1.5 million people and 40,000 cars to a 16-mile stretch of the historic avenue from Ferndale to Pontiac. In celebration, house parties spilled out onto sun-dappled lawns and spectators staked out spots along Woodward.
"It's wonderful. We're really enjoying it," said Dorothea Billinger of Detroit, who watched the cruise from a spot outside in Berkley. "I'm a cruiser. We go to all the car shows."
Read on for a recap of the day's events from Berkley and Huntington Woods!
9:44 p.m.: Woodward Avenue has been cleared, Deputy Director Robert North said.
While officers dealt with some parking and alcohol-related issues, as well as a few minor medical incidents, people were generally calm and the day was a success, North said.
9 p.m.: It's closing time for the Woodward Dream Cruise.
6 p.m.: Sgt. Mike Crum, on patrol with several other officers, said the day had been "excellent."
"The worst thing we've had so far is two children who lost their parents and we were able to locate them," he said.
Crum also was able to elucidate something that had stumped Berkley Patch all day: Why was traffic so light in the southbound lanes of Woodward Avenue in Berkley and Huntington Woods, but packed in the northbound lanes in Royal Oak?
Crum said the uneven flow is caused by a combination of gawkers and three traffic lights at 13 Mile and Woodward, the epicenter of the cruise. He said north of that area, the traffic pattern is flipped.
5:30 p.m.: Spirits were up at in Berkley during the restaurant's first Woodward Dream Cruise.
"It's been a lot of fun," co-owner Curt Catallo said. "Obviously, the weather is so important for an event like this and we couldn't ask for a better day."
Catallo said he was happy to have Detroit television station WXYZ using the restaurant as a satellite base and that Auto Week was streaming a live feed of the cruise from Vinsetta Garage's rooftop.
"It's been fun having the Made in Detroit guys," here too, he said.
Catallo said , offered a streamlined menu and dining outdoors under a tent.
"For us, it makes for a relatively calm day," he said. "Everybody on our payroll is working because we didn't want to take any chances."
He said the restaurant will assess its Dream Cruise operations Sunday and then decide what changes to make for next year.
"It was funny because people were telling us from the moment we opened a monster was headed our way and when it got here, it didn't have the sharp teeth we were afraid of," Catallo said. "It was a big, friendly monster."
He praised the city of Berkley for its handling of the event.
"They do a great job of running it," Catallo said. "It was our first Dream Cruise, but it was clear it wasn't Berkley's."
5:10 p.m.: Lorne Wolfe of Royal Oak sported a horned hat as he cruised down Woodward Avenue on his bike – looking very much the part of a young, carefree jokester having a bit of fun with his Viking-style headgear.
But Wolfe's reason for wearing the horns had nothing to do with the Dream Cruise.
"Last year, I got assaulted on August 18 in Kalamazoo and was in a coma for 2 weeks," he said. "(The hat) just kind of reminds me of being a young bull.
"I'm doing great," he said of his recovery. "I'm loving life. You've got to praise each day."
5:05 p.m.: Dorothea Billinger and her granddaughter Rian Blackmon, both of Detroit, took in the Dream Cruise from a spot outside in Berkley.
"It's wonderful. We're really enjoying it," she said. "I'm a cruiser. We go to all the car shows."
Billinger said she also won a raffle Flagstar held earlier in the day to take a ride in a 1966 Cadillac.
4:45 p.m.: manager Ron Nussbaum said the Berkley restaurant's first Woodward Dream Cruise was a learning experience.
"We didn't know what to do because it's the first year," said Nussbaum, who added business was down 10 to 15 percent compared to a normal.
He said many of Crispelli's' regulars stayed away due to concerns about cruise traffic. Next year, the restaurant will do things a little differently he said.
"We had an offer to rent the space," Nussbaum said. "We didn't. We should have."
He said Crispelli's could put a tent outside for customers and rent the inside, which was mostly empty Saturday afternoon.
"It's been fun. It's been a lot of fun," Nussbaum said as oldies tunes played in the background. "The owner said yesterday, 'It's the first year. We're learning. Just have fun.' "
4:35 p.m.: Did you see that guy selling snakes along Woodward Avenue?
That was Vince Urban of Cleveland, Ohio, and don't worry: They weren't live reptiles.
"People freak out over these," he said. "It's funny."
Urban, who works as a landscaper during the summer, sells the life-like wooden snakes at car shows and festivals on the side. He said he got into the business after his brother, a novelty shop owner, purchased some of the toys and got a good reaction from people.
"We started walking around with backpacks full of snakes," Urban said.
The wooden snake business has been rough this summer, said Urban, who was on his first sales outing of the season. He sells the snakes in small, medium and large for $5 to $20, but the popular medium size was out of stock until recently, Urban said, and he doesn't like to carry just the small and large sizes.
"It's crazy," he said. "I go around, 'Tastes like chicken!' People think you're nuts."
Urban said he has friends in Miami's South Beach who peddle photos with live snakes and other animals to tourists.
"My friend makes a killing with a ring-tailed lemur on South Beach," he said. "He makes money like a guy with a degree."
4:25 p.m.: All was quiet at the Alliance Mobile Health stand outside in Berkley, where the crew had thoughtfully put out a bowl of water for passing pooches.
"We've had a couple of Band-Aids and ice packs," operations supervisor Brandon Cross said. "We've had a fall up the road that gotten take care of pretty quickly. We've had a few people who had a little too much to drink.
"But, for the most part, it's been pretty smooth," he said.
Cross added that the booth wil remain open until approximately midnight. The Dream Cruise officially ends at 9 p.m.
4:20 p.m.: Sisters Roxanne and Janelle Suico, both from Brighton, were checking out the scene in Berkley.
Roxanne Suico sported a vintage-style dress, retro makeup with red lips, and a victory roll hairstyle that was popularized during the 1940s.
"I kind of just like that whole lifestyle, that custom lifestyle," she said. "A lot of music, a lot of movies, a lot of fashion from that time inspire me. It was more unique."
3:10 p.m.: Our is up and features images from this morning's events along the cruise route from Ferndale to Bloomfield Hills. We'll be updating this gallery throughout the day, so check it out early and often.
1:15 p.m.: A couple of savvy young entrepreneurs made the most of the Woodward Dream Cruise by catering to hungry, thirsty spectators on their way to and from the historic avenue.
Aster Disbrow of Huntington Woods and her friend Jordyn Nutting of Bloomfield Hills sold lemonade, chocolate mustaches (on a stick!), twist band bracelets, hair bows and homemade muffins Saturday at the corner of Huntington and 11 Mile Road in Huntington Woods.
The girls said they stayed up until 10:30 p.m. making the goodies.
"We all had our jobs to do," while the mustaches were in the refrigerator getting hard, Jordyn said. "I did the bows."
1 p.m.: Jeanie and Kenny Hill of Tamaqua, Penn., showed of her 1934 Chevy Coupe – nicknamed "Ms. Pinky" – at a spot along Woodward Avenue. It was the couple's seventh consecutive year making the journey to Michigan for the cruise after they heard about it from a friend.
"It's pretty when people in a restaurant remember us and give us a hug," Kenny Hill said. "I didn't know I was that squeezable."
Jeanie was in full Dream Cruise spirit, sporting pink, rhinestone-laden retro sunglasses, spark plug earrings, a wrench and ball-peen hammer necklace and a piston bracelet.
12:55 p.m.: was available Saturday at the corner of 11 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue and at a booth a little farther south in Huntington Woods. Gear also was for sale in Berkley at 12 Mile and Woodward, Edgewood and Woodward (in front of ), Catalpa and Woodward (in front of the Northpoint Medical building) and Cambridge and Woodward (in front of ).
New this year, .
Items for sale include T-shirts, magnets, lapel pins, dashboard plaques, travel mugs, die-cast cars and hats.
"Half the profit is for the city to help cover expenses," Berkley Ad Hoc Woodward Dream Cruise Committee chairman Marc Coon wrote in an e-mail to Berkley Patch. "The other half is divided up among the community service organizations who sell the merchandise."
Community service organizations selling merchandise this week include the Berkley Junior Woman's Club, Tri-Community Coalition, Berkley-Huntington Woods Youth Assistance, Berkley Hoops, Berkley Bear Boosters and Friends of Berkley Parks & Recreation.
12:50 p.m.: A team from Bodyworks Therapeutic Massage LLC, located at 26711 Woodward Ave., Suite LL 5, in Huntington Woods was offering $10 discounts and giving cruise fans massages in the parking lot outside its building.
12:40 p.m.: Members of the Internet-based SSR Fanatics car club from as far away as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland showed off their brightly colored, retro-style Chevy vehicles in the parking lot in Huntington Woods.
Doug Evans of Akron, Penn., said this was his seventh trip to the Woodward Dream Cruise since 2004 with the club. The only time he missed the event? His daughter's wedding.
12:30 p.m.: "This is, without a doubt, the quietest spot along Woodward," said Huntington Woods Mayor Ronald Gillham, who sat with his wife Shirley, in front of the EvansPletkovic law firm in Huntington Woods. The pair enjoyed the cruise while they monitored 10 parking spaces sold at $75 each on behalf of Berkley-Huntington Woods Youth Assistance.
12:10 p.m.: A Camaro race car stopped at the BP station on the Huntington Woods side of Woodward in Royal Oak drew an appreciative crowd en route to the Michigan Gumball Rally area of the Ferndale Woodward Dream Cruise. Owner Rick Owens of Jackson said the car is the only one in the world since NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a 2001 crash to sport the signature of his team's owner, Richard Childress, along with his No. 3.
The Michigan Gumball Rally is an annual statewide road trip the weekend before the Woodward Dream Cruise involving more than 100 vehicles, traveling more than 1,000 miles of Michigan roads, to visit landmarks, museums and race tracks, according to a city of Ferndale press release. .
Visit www.michigangumball.com for more information.
10:33 a.m.: in Berkley is working to make the most of its first Woodward Dream Cruise by selling pizza along Woodward Avenue in Berkley and offering samples of fresh-baked pastries outside its restaurant.
"We've been a little slower than normal, maybe 10 to 15 percent compared to a normal Friday," manager Ron Nussbaum said Saturday. "We're kind of in an in-between position. It seems to be busier at 13 and Woodward (in Royal Oak) and farther south.
"We're trying to make this a destination," he said. "The patio's open. We're open for regular business. There's no wait."
9 a.m.: Woodward Avenue has officially opened for cruising, and with cruising comes characters. Keep your eyes open today for Brian Alsobrooks of Sterling Heights, aka "The Spaghetti Man," who was spotted Friday evening in Berkley. Alsobrooks is known for his eccentric outfits and dancing antics at events throughout Metro Detroit.
"I'm an infamous street dancer," he said Friday, explaining that his nickname comes from his style of moving and grooving. "I'm just getting attention. This is the biggest party of the year. It would be almost evil of me to miss it."
Still not sure what you're looking for? Check out this video of The Spaghetti Man at the 2011 Clay, Glass and Glass Festival in Royal Oak.
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