The Cure for Polar Vortex Induced Depression—Planning Your Back to the Bricks™/Corvette Reunion Week

The Cure for Polar Vortex Induced Depression – Planning Your Back to the Bricks™/Corvette Reunion Week
by Rick Tavel© February 9, 2014

Along the Bricks captioned

As the “polar vortex” blankets much of the country and the dreaded February “blues” set in, one of the best diversions to help brighten your outlook and pull you out of the doldrums is to begin planning your summer automobile event calendars. Just the thought of those sunny days and warm summer nights is enough to send the vortex back to the poles. Recently, as I completed mine, I was amazed at the number of the “must” events that take place during August. Even though I realized August has the distinction of being the busiest month of the year for car enthusiasts it made me realize that I better get busy figuring out how to take advantage of them all.

RT August 2014 Events  Caption

As I look at my calendar of all the “must attend” events during the month, twenty two of August’s thirty one days are booked! And on several of those days there are two or three events scheduled! So it would be easy to overlook some important events during the exciting month, especially during the second week which is dominated by a week of activities tied to the Woodward Dream Cruise and a week of Back to the Bricks™/Corvette Reunion activities. Thousands of enthusiasts flock to Michigan in August due to the world famous Woodward Dream Cruise and many do not realize that on Saturday, the “official day” of the WDC, there is another event going on seventy miles to the north that real “car guys,” guys that really know, collect, build and even race cars, say is the place to be on that day – Flint, Michigan. Now understand I am not “dumping on” or even diminishing the outstanding WDC, quite the contrary, it is truly one of the great automobile events in the world and deserves its world wide reputation. But, surprisingly, several enthusiasts making the pilgrimage to Michigan for the Dream Cruise are not even aware of the Bricks/Corvette Reunion event and many of those that do, don’t realize with a little advance planning you can easily take advantage of both the Dream Cruise and the impressive Back to the Bricks™ event.

Woodward Dream Cruise captioned

The first step is realizing the differences between the two events and how the Dream Cruise works, because once you realize that though Saturday is the official day of the Dream Cruise, in reality it kicks off on the Sunday before and builds throughout the week until Saturday. Often the same cars make the run up and down Woodward each day and by Friday night you can virtually see most or even more of what you’d see on Saturday. In fact many Dream Cruise junkies, myself included, believe that Friday night is the best part of the Dream Cruise. Wednesday evening is a particularly good time at Woodward because that is when Larry Courtney’s impressive Corvettes on Woodward event parades 500 to 600 Corvettes down Woodward. So by devoting Wednesday through Friday night to the Dream Cruise, Saturday is free to make the trip to Flint for the Back to the Bricks™/Corvette Reunion event.
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Start of Corvettes on Woodward Parade 2013 captioned

Recently the Back to the Bricks™ event was picked as one of the country’s top thirty collector events along with other prestigious events such as the Amelia Island, Hilton Head and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Detroit Autorama, the Los Angeles Roadster Show, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion , Bonneville Speed Week, and SEMA. That should be enough to convince any enthusiast that it is a “MUST” for August. Almost a half million knowledgeable enthusiasts will attend the BttB/CR event or the pre-events. And until recently the event was one of the best kept secrets in the enthusiast world.

Along the Bricks captioned

The main Back to the Bricks™/ Corvette Reunion event which takes place on Saturday, August 16th, is not a cruise, though often referred to as such, it is a car show. But merely referring to it as a “car show” just doesn’t do it justice, it’s an UBER CAR SHOW LIFESTYLE EVENT, large enough to fill all the downtown streets of Flint, which are closed except for classic, hot rod, custom, resto-mod, and of course, Corvettes being shown. Unlike the Dream Cruise, which is a rolling cruise up and down Woodward Avenue, the Back to the Bricks™/ Corvette Reunion event allows you to take your time and closely inspect your favorite cars. The only challenge is seeing all of the thousands of cars displayed on downtown Flint’s historic brick streets. And as an added treat for Corvette lovers, the Corvette Reunion is a separate event that takes place within massive Bricks event, and attracts over 500 Corvettes from around the country. Corvette classics, restomods, customs, and racecars line the streets of the automotive rich city, and the home of the Corvette.

father and son Vettes captioned

And like so many automobile events that have outgrown a single day, the Back to the Bricks™ event has expanded to include at least ten days of pre events in addition to a five day promotional tour in June. During “Tune Up Week” which takes place August 4th through August 9th , there are six cruises in and around outlying Michigan towns with each town creating their own events, including concerts and parties, to celebrate the cruise. On Tuesday, August 12th, there is a free Drive In movie showing “American Graffiti” and Wednesday, August 13th, through Friday, August 15th, there are mini cruises in and around Flint, Burton, and Grand Blanc along with swap meets, live music, and even a car corral offering classic cars for sale. And if some family members don’t want to spend days focusing on cars there are plenty of collateral events going on. There are art and craft fairs, in addition to tours of historic buildings and places of interest.

Corvettes here Corvettes there  captioned

In addition to the pre-events which take place the two weeks before the main event, there is a June promotional tour, open to all enthusiasts, which begins Friday, June 20th, in Flint and for the next six days caravans through Michigan to Auburn, Indiana and wraps up with an “End of the Road Party” on Thursday June 26th. This year’s tour, known as the “Michiana Tour” fills up early so make sure if you plan on joining the fun it’s time to get your reservation in.

Durant Statue captioned
An admirable feature which sets the Back to the Bricks™ event apart from most automotive events is it is a non-profit organization set up to fund its Automotive Pioneer Statue Fund. It is set up as a 501C, meaning that all contributions to the event are tax deductible and all profits go to help preserve and promote the rich automotive history of Flint and to commission bronze statues of automotive pioneers that were so much a part of the city’s past. The event was started in 2004 as an effort to rehabilitate the deteriorating city of Flint and preserve its automotive history by car collector, Allan Hatch. A lifetime resident of the Flint metropolitan area, he saw the city’s automobile heritage slipping away along with the deteriorating downtown. Hatch decided that there should be something that would attract visitors and help rehabilitate the historic downtown and preserve the original brick streets where once Billy Durant, David Buick, Louis Chevrolet, Walter P. Chrysler and other important automobile pioneers walked. Being an avid car collector what would be better than a giant, free car show, and so the Bricks event was born and this year will celebrate its tenth anniversary. In the ten years since its founding, the event has grown from the first year’s 1000 cars to over 25,000 cars and has already funded statues of the aforementioned four pioneers and have an additional two statues planned for this year, Charles Nash and Otto P. Graff.

durant dort factory 1  captioned
Recognizing both the importance and significance of the Bricks event and Flint’s historical significance to the auto industry and the home of General Motors®, GM®has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the Back to the Bricks™ event for the next five years. GM® executive vice president Mark Reuss, now responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of General Motors® vehicles around the world and an avid “car guy,” commented last year, “We just did not know how large the Back to the Bricks™ event has become and we need to be a part of it!” Not only has GM® offered to be the main sponsor of the Back to the Bricks™ event they also purchased the vacant Durant Dort Carriage Factory, recognized as the birthplace of GM® and known as “Factory One,” with initial plans to use it as a museum. In addition to the purchase of Factory One, GM® will also become the curator of the Durant-Dort office building located across the street from the factory a block away from downtown Flint.

BttB-CR Custom Corvette

Just thinking about the event will help get rid of the long winter induced cabin fever. So pull out your calendars and begin planning so you can take advantage of as many automotive events as possible this summer. But one event that needs to headline your summer activities is historic Flint’s Back to the Bricks™/Corvette Reunion automotive celebration.