Aug. 15 – No Official Dream Cruise, But Political Demonstrations Planned

Aug. 15 – No Official Dream Cruise, But Political Demonstrations Planned

(Drew Saunders, Aug. 13, 2020)

Bloomfield Hills, MI – The annual Woodward Dream Cruise may be canceled this year due to Coronavirus, but communities along the corridor are still expecting classic cars and observers, and even a couple political demonstrations Saturday.

The Oakland County Republican Party has decided to seize moment and hold their own MAGA Classic Car Cruise. The Chairman of the Oakland County Republican Party, A. Rocky Raczkowski said in an interview by phone that the point of the event was to show support for police, and local businesses.

“The reason why we’re Republicans is that we believe in economic prosperity for all. We believe in supporting our police and fire [and EMTs] and not defunding our police, fire and EMTs,” Raczkowski said.  “If you support the local economy, when you’re driving up or down [Woodward Avenue] and you need to get gas or want to stop and get food … you can stop at one of the local restaurants, socially distance and buy lunch at one of the local restaurants in Royal Oak or Birmingham, or in Bloomfield, that’s what supporting our local businesses means. It’s not about partisanship.”

There will be no specific meeting, or speeches made or rally in a traditional sense, but rather a freeform parade of classic vehicles going up and down Metro Detroit’s central thoroughfare as drivers typically do. The MAGA Dream Cruise FB Page said that they are encouraging masks and social distancing when the cruise starts at the Oakland County Republican Office, at 12 p.m., Saturday. The GOP cruise will last until 4 p.m.

But they are not the only group encouraging people to come out to Woodward Avenue next Saturday. It appears that some are planning a counter-protest to the MAGA Cruise, and have scheduled to start an hour earlier, also in front of the Oakland County Republican Party’s office, in Bloomfield Hills.

“Trump supporters are holding their own ‘MAGA Classic Car Cruise’ in place of the annual Dream Cruise,” According to the MAGA Cruise Protest Facbeook page. The page said that that “Our protest will make a statement of solidarity with all people and communities that Trump and his supporters have harassed, harmed and oppressed.”

One of the Organizers, Kelsey Koneda of OC Mutual Aid, told Oakland County Times “We have no space for conservative views. We have no space for racist, homophobic, classist opinions,”

OC Mutual Aid Member Kelsey Koneda said in an interview by phone. When asked if conservative views automatically meant intolerant views, Koneda said “No. If you’re supporting Trump at this point, you’re supporting all of those things.”

The Dream Cruise itself was cancelled out of an abundance of caution because of concerns about an inability to achieve social distancing on the sidewalks and whether or not attendees would wear masks.

“Since Dream Cruise typically brings in a large volume of people from both inside and outside [of] the state, the health and safety of our residents, guests, vendors, volunteers and staff was our top priority, which is why we decided to cancel CruiseFest and not allow any event permits for that weekend,” Jennifer Finney, the Executive Director of the Berkeley Downtown Development Authority, said.

Ferndale Police Chief Vincent Palazzolo told Oakland County Times that departments along Woodward are prepared for a busy weekend, but he doesn’t think there will be crowds like years past since there are not events scheduled.  “We’ve talked to businesses all along Woodward and most have said they’re not renting out their [parking] lots this year, and they won’t be hosting parties.  We know there still will be some, but for the most part people understand this is a pandemic.”

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