By Pat Maurer
“Back in Its Day It Was the Way!”
That’s the slogan that marks the historic old US-27 Motor Tour, which will be making its 16th annual cruise through the center of Michigan all next week.
Every 3rd week of August The Old US 27 Motor tour does a 11-City 6-day Motor Tour of Historic Old U.S.27 in Michigan.
Join hundreds of classic cars as they tour nostalgic Old US 27. The Tour visits several cities from its starting point in Coldwater to its ending point in Cheboygan.
The Old U.S. 27 Motor Tour was the brainchild of one very remarkable man, Craig Parrish. Craig was born in Lansing, Michigan to a family deeply embedded in the car industry and his love and passion for automobiles grew from that family heritage at a very young age (at the age of 4 he could identify cars by their tail lights). In his teens, like most, he would drive his car to downtown Lansing and “Cruise the Gut”. Later in life, while reminiscing about how much fun they had on Friday nights “Cruisin’ the Gut”, he came up with the idea of restoring the cruise in the form of a car show during each summer months. He worked tirelessly with the City of Lansing and the downtown merchants to organize and host the Cruises during summer for ten years.
In the early 2000s, Craig had the idea to have Old U.S. 27 in Michigan become designated as a historic highway and went about making that happen. In 2010, that dream became a reality as the Michigan House of Representatives passed a resolution sponsored by Lansing Representative Joan Bauer to officially designate the route as a historic highway.
As part of the historic designation of U.S. 27, Craig had the vision to create a Motor Tour along the route from Coldwater to Cheboygan, like the Route 66 experience, driving a piece of US history. He went to communities along Old U.S. 27 to ask if they would be interested in having their town participate in a week-long traveling car show with a police escort from one town to the next. He told them, “I will bring the cars and the people, you bring the party”.
The Tour began in 2006 and has evolved into a summer highlight in the State of Michigan for car enthusiasts as well as anyone looking to come out, view the amazing cars that come into town, and capture a bit of history.
The tour makes stops in the following cities: Coldwater, DeWitt, Saint Johns, Ithaca, Saint Louis, Clare, Harrison, Grayling, Gaylord, Wolverine and Cheboygan.
That cruise includes their traditional overnight stop on Thursday evening in Clare and on to join in the festivities Friday afternoon in Harrison. You can visit downtown Clare and Harrison to view these classics or even join in the tour by registering and paying at the city where you would like to begin.
The cost to join the tour is $20 and those wishing to join in Clare can register at a table in front of the Doherty Hotel.
Get ready to welcome those beautiful classic and new vehicles as they arrive in Clare from the roundabout beginning at 5 pm. The cars will travel on McEwan to downtown Clare where they will park overnight from 3rd Street to State Street.
As they arrive in Clare, their vehicles will be parked by volunteers from McDonald Chrysler and their luggage will handled by Clare Boy Scouts Troop 3620, who will also be on hand to help with all the driver’s needs. McDonald’s is looking for more volunteers. Call 989-386-7779 or call the Chamber officer at 989-386-2442 to volunteer.
McEwan Street will be packed. From 300 to 400 classic cars of yesterday and today are expected to be cruising into Clare on Thursday