MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST – After the challenges presented in 2020, including COVID-19 and the threat of a hurricane, Cruisin ‘the Coast officials were delighted to hear that the event had maintained its ranking as the best lounge automotive industry in the United States, in an annual USA Today reader survey.
This year’s poll marked the third time in four years. Cruisin ‘the Coast was named the best auto show, with the event finishing second in 2019. Panel of experts partners with USA Today’s “10Best” editors to select top nominees, and top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.
“It was really rewarding,” said Woody Bailey, longtime director of Cruisin ‘. “We tried to do our best during COVID to take care of everyone and follow all protocols. We’re glad it worked the way it did.
Between COVID-19 and the threat posed by Hurricane Delta, which finally made landfall in Louisiana last October, Cruisin ‘attendance has declined significantly in 2020. But as Cruisin’ prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary in October , attendance – both in terms of Cruisers and registered spectators – is expected to be at an all time high.
“Things are coming back pretty strong,” Bailey said – to put it mildly, to say the least.
Bailey said in a normal year (2020 was anything but) registrations at this point in the year are usually around 200 ahead of the previous year, but as of this week registrations for the 2021 event are more than 700 ahead of the pace set in 2019.
“We are already seeing a huge increase in the number of registrations,” he said. “We have a head start and I suspect, from the spectators’ point of view, that we will be ahead as well.”
Bailey said Tuesday there were 5,549 officially registered cruisers. Among them were participants from 44 states and Canada. One particular number, however, stood out for Bailey.
“It also includes 774 newbies,” he said, “people who have never been to the Mississippi coast. I really like this number in particular.
Cruisin ‘the Coast is scheduled for October 3-10. Once again, all four of Jackson County’s municipalities will host events, with Pascagoula and Ocean Springs once again serving as official three-day venues. Bailey noted the Cruise site is now updated with the official schedule of events for the week, as well as the latest Cruisin ‘newsletter.
With less than three months to go to kick off the event, everything looks set for a big celebration of 25 years of Cruisin on the Coast.
“If Mother Nature cooperates, it should be a great year,” Bailey said. “We generally have good weather. Typically, it’s a great time of year to be on the Mississippi coast. Hopefully it will happen again this year.