Classic car aficionados flock to 28th Street as Metro Cruise returns

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A rolling stock of nostalgia returned to 28th Street Friday.

The 28th Street Metro Cruise is back after the pandemic prevented the 16th annual event last year.

If you’re from Michigan, chances are the love of the automobile is in your DNA. For Muskegon’s Raul Saldana, that love in much more personal.

“This is a 1991 Chevy truck, Silverado. It belonged to my mother,” Saldana said as he walked around the bright red pickup. “This was her pride and joy. Before she passed away, I told her I would fix her truck.”

It was a task that took four years to complete. Everything but the paint job is original.

Unfortunately, Saldana’s mom died six years ago, before the project was finished. That’s why the truck and the Metro Cruise is so personal to her son.

“This is what keeps me going: I told my mother that I would fix it for her. That was kind of like my dream come true,” Saldana said. “In her spirit, we ride together. “

The 16th annual 28th Street Metro Cruise at Rogers Plaza in Wyoming. (Aug. 27, 2021)

For others, the cruise is a chance to share their love of the classic. John Nauta of Holland says his white 1960 Buick LeSabre convertible has personality you just can’t find with most vehicles rolling off the assembly lines these days.

“The ’59s had bigger fins. These are kind of shorter fins,” Nauta showed off his car. “Cars today seem to look all the same. Where these, you take a ’60 Buick or you take a ’60 Ford or a Chrysler product, they all look different.”

Nauta, his Buick and about 100,000 of their closest friends will line 28th Street this weekend for the Metro Cruise. The 13 mile route stretches from Grandville to Cascade. The heart of it all is the main event at Rogers Plaza in Wyoming.

“This is where we have 16-plus food vendors, over 300 collector cars. We have a free shuttle courtesy of the Rapid that brings you right down to Rogers so you don’t have to worry about the congested traffic and parking,” event manager Brandon Simmons said.

The cars are the stars, but there will be plenty of other attractions, including food trucks and vendors like Outlaw Roasted Corn and its authentic Mexican fare.

“Just the flavor of it when it’s roasted (is) totally different, if you ask me,” owner Karina Amador said.

She’s expecting big business.

“I know people are going to be excited to be out here, to be outdoors and trying to enjoy the day,” she said.

The event is held the week after Detroit’s Dream Cruise. Many of the car buffs head west after exiting Woodward Avenue. Last year, metro Grand Rapids businesses missed out on the big boost the event usually brings in.

“I believe $7 million is the economic impact for Metro Cruise week. It’s really a week. We see people starting to come in as early as Monday, getting hotel rooms, eating at restaurants, things like that,” Simmons said.

The Metro Cruise is scheduled to run from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at Rogers Plaza in Wyoming and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Woodland Mall in Kentwood.

The 16th annual 28th Street Metro Cruise at Rogers Plaza in Wyoming. (Aug. 27, 2021)

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