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'Cruisin' the Coast' sets new record for registered cars

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — An annual celebration of classic cars and hot rods on the Mississippi Gulf Coast has reached a milestone with more than 6,000 cars registered to take part.

The 16th annual “Cruisin’ the Coast” event, which wrapped up Sunday, surpassed 6,000 last Friday.

Event organizers say one reason Cruisin’ the Coast is gaining popularity is that participants actually get to cruise around, which isn’t the case at many other car shows around the nation.

“A lot of events you go with a car show, you dress your car, you register, you have a place where you set up, and you park,” Lisa Burnett, Cruisin’ the Coast registration director, told WLOX television.

“You’re expected to stay there and answer questions from the judges. So you could spend two days sitting there just looking around at the other contestants. Where here you’re looking around at beautiful scenery.”

Ellis and Joyce Martin of Plaquemine, La., were at the center of the celebration when they registered their 1964 Ford Mustang and found out that it was the 6,000th car registered.

“My heart stopped a few minutes when everybody started jumping around me,” said Ellis Martin. “I thought I did something wrong.”

The event included activities in various coastal cities. In Ocean Springs, the city roped off the downtown area for a sock hop.

Bay St. Louis, D’Iberville and Gulfport’s Centennial Plaza were among the places where there was live entertainment and the Coast Coliseum was host to a swap meet and an auto auction.

“We’ve broken our record and are sort of sailing right along,” Crusin’ the Coast executive director Woody Bailey told The Sun Herald. “Everything is all good.”

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