PANAMA CITY BEACH — More than 2,500 cars are expected to be pulling into Frank Brown Park this weekend for the sixth annual Emerald Coast Cruizin’.
One of our guests at the Best Panama City Beach Condo www.bestpanamacitybeachcondo.com has a car in the show.
“Every year, we get bigger and bigger,” said promoter Robert Parrish, as he looked around at all of the cars. Emerald Coast Cruizin’ is an open event that caters to muscle cars, hot rods, rat rods and antiques from all over the world. “This year we have cars registered from California, and even New Zealand,” Parrish said.
Emerald Coast Cruizin’ has everything a car lover could dream of, from Corvettes from the ’90s to a fully restored 1937 Ford Oze. Emerald Coast Cruizin’ even took into account that not everyone in the family wants to look at cars all day.
“We know ladies don’t want to look at fenders all the time,” Parrish said. So, behind all the cars are not only car part and food vendors, but moon bounces, sand art, accessory and clothing booths to entertain the entire family.
The owners of the cars traveled long distances to show off their cars and enjoy seeing others. “We came down on the interstate,” said Danny Wiley of Florence, Ala., who owns a 1955 3100 Chevy truck. “People were turning around in their cars trying to take pictures with their phones. It was great.”
Most of the owners started working on cars because they thought it would be a great release from their every day life.
“I ran a back hoe for a living,” Wiley said, “and you want something different to do when you come home.”
Others started restoring their cars because they got inspired.
“We were standing in Walmart looking at a magazine,” said Sonia Roddy, who with her husband, Duke, owns a 1937 Ford Oze. “Then next thing you know, we’re in Illinois a year later and had bought the car.”
Emerald Coast Cruizin’ teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club of Bay County for the fourth year in a row.
“It has been a hard year for charities,” said chief professional officer Paul Mosca of the Boys and Girls Club of Bay County. “We have more kids and less money.”
This year, promoter Robert Parrish allocated money from the Tourist Development Council, so all of the proceeds from tonight’s Beach Fest Concert will be going directly to the Boys and Girls Club of Bay County. The concert, featuring T.G. Sheppard and T. Graham Brown, is at 8 p.m. at Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant. Admission is $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
Other events on Saturday that are free for the participants include the Vacari Auto Auction at 10 a.m. at Frank Brown Park, Sharky’s Cruiz-In from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant, entertainment from 6-10 p.m. at Sandpiper Beacon Party Tiki Bar Beachside and the Bill Brooks concert at 7 p.m. at Pineapple Willy’s.
Parrish is expecting about 6,500 visitors to Emerald Coast Cruizin’ this year and is giving away $10,000 in various prizes. The car awards will be given out at 4 p.m. Saturday.