Flint, Michigan’s Back to the Bricks festival started as a one-day throwback to the cruises of the 1950s and a smaller alternative to the congestion of the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit.
Now the Flint event has grown so much that it drew more than 400,000 to last year’s festival.
Flint has special meaning for Corvette enthusiasts since the city is the birthplace of America’s sports car, with the first 300 1953 models being built at a factory off Van Slyke Avenue there. In fact, the first one rolled off the assembly line on June 19, 1953.
With the Corvette ready to celebrate its 60th anniversary with the 2013 model, Flint-area Corvette owners have been busy the past few months trying to lure other Corvette owners from as far away as Memphis to “come back home” and attend the free, family-friendly event in Michigan this year.
“We decided this year to reach out to other car clubs in other cities,” said Anthony Bowling, president of the Flint-area Trend Settas Corvette Club, “and educate them and invite them to bring the Corvette back home. It’s only fitting that we have the reunion here in Flint.”
The Corvette has overcome numerous brushes with extinction, but today it’s enjoying more respect than ever. Organizers hope the 2012 Back to the Bricks festival will see the biggest local Corvette reunion ever, with more than 1,000 cars attending.
“What we’re bringing to the Corvette world is something different for everyone to see,” said Bowling, whose club is one of four-area Corvette clubs leading the events. “You will see things on things just wow you.”
Back to the Bricks begins Aug. 14 with a free showing of Footloose at the U.S. 23 Drive-In Theater and runs through Aug. 18 with the big festival on the bricks of downtown Flint.
The Corvette events actually are slated to start Aug. 17 at the AmericInn Motel in Grand Blanc Town, where the Corvette clubs will host an open house and party from 1 to 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., they will head over to Brick Street Bar & Grill in Grand Blanc Township for food, drinks, and a meet-and-greet, hosted by the National Corvette Museum, which is “very selective about where they go,” Bowling said.
On Aug. 18, the Corvettes will be parked between First Avenue and Fifth Avenue along Saginaw Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Trend Settas, The Flint Corvette Club, Team Corvette and the Rainbow Corvette Club will all represent, but Bowling is expecting even more clubs from all over the country to show up.
“We’re going to have a record number of Corvettes this year,” he predicts.
The chairman of the Back to the Bricks committee, Al Hatch, admittedly is a little biased when he says he’s glad to have the Corvettes driving into town every year. After all, he has two of the Chevrolets himself – a 1966 and a 2002!
“Well, I happen to love them, yeah,” he admits. “It just adds a whole new dimension (to Back to the Bricks). It’s like a car show within a car show, which it is, but it’s an opportunity for the viewing public to see several hundred Corvettes in one sitting.”
For more info on the Corvette Reunion, visit www.CorvetteReunionatBacktotheBricks.com