By JAMES MITCHELL
and ZEINAB NAJM
Sunday Times Newspapers
DOWNRIVER – Thousands of classic car enthusiasts are expected to roam and line the street when the 12th annual Telegraph Classic Car Cruise kicks into gear this weekend.
The official Cruise day of July 23 will follow an unofficial kickoff Friday night.
City officials in Taylor, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Redford Township are set to welcome cruisers from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday along Telegraph Road from Ecorse Road north to Puritan Road.
Originally dubbed the Telegraph Tomorrow cruise when launched alongside the Telegraph Tomorrow Association’s campaign to improve and promote U.S. 24, sponsorship of the event in recent years has included radio station WDRQ-FM and Loor Productions, which operated a “party zone” in 2014.
Absent major partners for the Cruise, Taylor city spokesman Karl Ziomek said that many traditions will continue with a variety of events in parking lots along the route.
Traditional gathering spots for Cruise fans in Taylor include Biker Bob’s Motown Harley-Davidson, 13100 Telegraph; Drinks Saloon, 9015 Telegraph; and Cavill’s Lounge, 14383 Telegraph.
Police have asked that cruisers on Telegraph be in classic cars and not smaller, unregistered vehicles.
“Our aim is to make this a friendly, safe day for everyone involved,” Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said. “Mini-bikes, golf carts and four-wheelers do not interact well with cruise traffic patterns.”
Sclabassi asked that spectators remain at least three feet from the road, and said that in Taylor tents will be installed along the median and staffed by auxiliary police officers.
In Dearborn Heights, the cruise will also draw thousands of classic car enthusiasts to line Telegraph Road.
Several business owners and operators along the road have special activities planned for both cruisers and spectators.
The Dearborn Heights Fire Department, 4500 S. Telegraph Road will host its 10th annual car wash during the cruise.
Drivers can take their vehicles for a car wash starting at noon with a $5 cost to benefit the firefighters charity funds.
The Traction Bar & Grill, 5990 N. Telegraph Road, will have a car show in its parking lot for spectators along with drink and food specials.
A disc jockey also will be in attendance to provide music throughout the day.
Mustang Owners Club of Southeastern Michigan is planing to meet up again at J & J Collision Service, 6528 N. Telegraph Road, for all Mustang lovers. The meet begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. with a food truck on site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
As a classic car fan himself, Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko is excited to see all the vehicles and car enthusiasts arrive to the city for the cruise.
“Since I’m a car guy myself, this one is always on my list of favorite events,” Paletko said in a press release. “Every year, we see more and more great-looking cars coming to Dearborn Heights, along with a host of spectators. It’s shaping up to be another good one that’s sure to bring back a lot of fond memories for all of us.”
Dearborn Heights Police Chief Lee Gavin encourages participants and spectators to stay safe throughout the cruise.
“Fortunately, we’ve always had safe events in Dearborn Heights, which is great, because we want both our cruisers and spectators alike to have a safe, enjoyable day,” Gavin said in a press release. “Of course we want everyone to enjoy themselves; we just want them to do it safely. We’ll have several officers on hand to help out where needed and to remind the motorists that they need to obey the traffic laws – as well as using some good common sense, along with some patience out there.”
Gavin also warned about the consumption of alcohol in the vehicles or public places, and officers will enforce a zero-tolerance policy.
“This is one we’ll enforce vigorously. There will be a lot of cars cruising up and down Telegraph, and a lot of spectators, both young and old, sitting in close proximity to the roadway,” he said. “Alcoholic beverages have no place in this kind of environment.”
All vehicles should be parked in lots or designated parking spaces. No parking will be allowed in the median between northbound and southbound lanes or against left-hand curbs. Spectators are free to sit or stand in the medians to view the action.
(James Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Zeinab Najm can be reached at email@example.com.)