Back to the Bricks 2017 - WNEM TV 5

Back to the Bricks 2017

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It’s time to rev up your engine and head Back to the Bricks.

The annual experience exploring classic cars is heading back to Mid-Michigan.

>>Slideshow: Back to the Bricks<<

The five-day event kicked off Tuesday, Aug. 15, with a party at the US-23 Drive-In theater on Fenton Road in Mundy Township. The 1981 edition of "Cannonball Run" began at dusk. 

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 5 – 9 p.m. the “Rolling Cruises” hit the streets from Saginaw Street in downtown Flint to Grand Blanc.

See our story on that by clicking here.

On Aug. 17 and 18 car enthusiasts had the chance to swap stories and find parts and accessories for their classics at Kirkridge Presbyterian Church in Grand Blanc.

Check that out by clicking here.

On Friday, Aug. 18, it’s the Back to the Bricks free outdoor Cruise “N” Concert. Head to the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center, 3501 Lapeer Road, Flint, for live music starting at 7:30 p.m. Bring your lawn chair to take in the tunes and also check out vendors and children’s activities.

Saturday, Aug.19 is your chance to check out vehicles of every age and description. Head to downtown Flint from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to take pictures, buy souvenirs and enjoy the fun. Show cars line up at the University of Michigan-Flint lot at the corner of Saginaw and Fifth Avenue.

Impact on local businesses

Back to the Bricks is more than just a good time. It's also good for business.

Every year the event brings thousands of people ready to eat, drink and have fun in Flint.

"It's a huge game changer for the community every single year," said DeAndra McCain, director of Flint and Genesee County's Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Back to the Bricks is an example of everything Flint was, is and hopes to always be.

"It's really important. It definitely helps to change the perception of the region and it provides something positive for residents and visitors alike to experience in our community," McCain said.

Estimates suggest more than 500,000 people will attend this year's event.

"Hotels are always sold out during Back to the Bricks. The restaurants are packed. Downtown is slammed during Back to the Bricks, which is great," McCain said.

The show attracts both Michiganders and out-of-state car lovers.

That boom in visitors is expected to bring in millions of dollars to the region.

"And if people really are into vehicles, they will travel from across the U.S.," McCain said.

Blackstone's Pub and Grill is packed for the main event, but seems to find a seat for all patrons. Manager Patti Bergstrom said the event seems to bring the city together.

"It gives people a chance to see that Flint's not as bad as they think," Bergstrom said.

Corvette family

Roger Norton Jr. and his family love corvettes.

"My ride is 2012 Grand Sport," Norton said.

His group, consisting of family and friends, all souped up in their sports cars - nine total - drove in a single file line Wednesday from downtown Flint to Grand Blanc. They were all in a Corvette, except one.

"There's nine vettes and one Viper. So in the family there is a Viper," Norton said.

Norton's brother, Dan McFadden, broke the mold and rolled around in his white Viper. That doesn't mean he doesn't have the family favorite at home in the garage.

"I own a Corvette, don't get me wrong. But I had the Viper way back. So it's just a part of me and hopefully I can hold onto that until I can't get in and out of anymore," McFadden said.

Jack Matsko, from Suski Chevrolet Buick, said it's not just about the car but the community of people who owns them.

"We all wave to one another. When you go down the street and you have a Corvette, you wave to the other person in the other car. And they always wave back no matter if it's rain or shine," Matsko said.

If Corvettes aren't your thing, Norton said there's a ton more to see throughout the rest of the week.

"You'll see a whole litany of all types of cars, old, new, the whole gamut," Norton said.

Count on WNEM TV5 for continuing coverage of this week of fun and festivities.

Click here for more on Back to the Bricks.

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