15 Sep 2014
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North Gratiot Cruise Drives into Chesterfield Township

The car festivities kicked off at noon Sunday from Hall to 23 Mile on Gratiot.

Three miles of car-lover festivities consumed Chesterfield Township on Sunday during the .

Shiny, restored classics with their hoods propped up lined business parking lots along the highly traveled stretch while pedestrians admired them up close. Regular motorists puttered through cruise traffic that encompassed anything from the rare to quirky. Local businesses joined the hoopla by offering music, entertainment and their own car displays.

'Great day for a cruise'

Township Supervisor Michael Lovelock called it a "great day for a cruise. The weather is great. People are coming out. ... They're coming from all over the place."

Lovelock, who was at the event headquarters in the former Kmart parking lot, said he expected anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 attendees. He pointed to the displays and and Macomb County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit demonstrations as the major attractions, besides the cars.

He also acknowledged Joe Ballor Towing of New Haven for its .

"We've dealt with the township for so many years," owner Joe Ballor said of his reason for supporting the cruise.

Ballor showcased several of his personal vehicles, from a 1963 Impala to classic tow trucks.

Cruisin' for cause

A cruise committee, comprising community business owners and officials, have met for the past year to organize the event. The committee said it aims to raise money during the cruise for police K-9 units in the township and county.

Chesterfield Township Police Chief Bruce Smith, who also sat on the committee to ensure public safety, said Sunday no official decisions have been made about the .

"We'll see what kind of funds they raised," he said.

Smith said if voters approve the for the police department, that likely would mean enough money to save the unit.

"That's one of the services I'm hoping to restore," he said.

Car enthusiasts unite

Algonac resident Bob Van Dam brought his 1964 Pontiac GTO to the cruise headquarters that he restored from the ground up.

"It's just a special car. You know, the first year of the muscle car," Van Dam said.

He said this was his first time going to the North Gratiot Cruise and he was impressed by the amount of classic cars there.

New Haven resident Tom Froh enjoyed the cruise from inside his zebra-painted 1981 Jeep CJ7 with 44-inch Ground Hawg tires.

"It's the first time I've been here," Froh said. "A lot of nice cars, a lot of nice people."

The cruise due to lack of sponsorships and manpower for the event, North Gratiot Cruise Chairman and owner John Vecchio previously said.

Township officials and of the cruise means the event is here to stay.

Check back with Patch for from the cruise.

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