October 14, 2013 9:59:31 AM
D'IBERVILLE -- More than 7,040 hot rods, antique and classic cars have set a record for the weeklong Cruisin' the Coast festival.
Organizers say that's nearly 1,000 more than last year's record of 6,191 cars driving down U.S. Highway 90, with stops in Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, D'Iberville, Gulfport, and Ocean Springs.
The festival wound up Sunday in Gulfport.
As of Saturday evening, 800 cars had signed up to return in October 2014, Director Woody Bailey told The Sun Herald.
"This is my favorite event," Ocean Springs resident Richard Styron told The Mississippi Press. "I like this better than Mardi Gras. It's a better event. I get off on Friday afternoon, get down here and pretty much spend the whole weekend here.
"I told one of the organizers they should do this twice a year," he added.
Ocean Springs' Cruisin' coordinator Chic Cody called the event "a 100 percent success."
D'Iberville resident Robin Dryden, an hour late to pick up her children at school on Friday, was considerably less enthusiastic.
"Basically just, why can't we move? There's no wreck. The lights are green and people sit through a green light because they're talking to their friend in the car next to them," she told WLOX-TV.
Cruisin' the Coast organizer Woody Bailey said the event brought cars from 44 states -- all but Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, Idaho and Hawaii.
With more than 7,000 registered cars, plus an estimated 3,000 unregistered vehicles; he understands that traffic tie-ups can be frustrating.
On the other hand, he feels it's a good problem to have.
"I remember when we did not have any traffic on Highway 90," said Bailey. "So, I like seeing traffic on Highway 90. That means business is wide open on the coast."
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