FLINT – Now that another successful Back to the Bricks is officially in the books, having wrapped up last week, the founder of the annual event, Al Hatch, is already hard at work hammering out the details for the 2018 Back to the Bricks.
“We had projected about 600,000 people and 40,000 cars for this year, and the rain affected Thursday’s and Friday’s numbers a little bit, but we were probably right around there,” said Hatch. “Saturday’s event in downtown Flint was just a grand slam. That was the largest main event we’ve ever had in terms of attendance. It was spectacular. We were very, very pleased. Absolutely no problems, and this thing ran like a well-oiled machine. It was a team effort, all the way from God right on down to the car owners.”
Kicking off this year’s 14th Annual Back to the Bricks was the annual Promo Tour, which began on June 9 of this year in Flint and snaked its way around the lower peninsula, ending in Fenton six days later. The Promo Tour attracted more than 200 vehicles and 400 participants for the nearly 600-mile drive. The event, featured an excursion from Flint to Clare, and continued on throughout Michigan.
As the main event geared up, a number of Tune Up Parties took place throughout the week of Aug. 7 to help kick things off. The nightly events took place on successive days from August 7-12 in Davison, Clio, Linden, Fenton, Flushing/Swartz Creek, and Mt. Morris/Beecher. The free parties consisted of car shows, drive-in movies, concerts, dancing, concessions, giveaways and more.
“All of the Tune Up Party sites were really maxed right out,” said Hatch. “They were completely filled. As was the Bricks Flicks. We actually had to shut down the entrance gate a couple of times. And that happened in downtown Flint, too. We had to divert traffic off the main section. We’ll have to reassess that for next year and see about getting some more parking. But the City of Flint was just exceptional in their support, as were all of the municipalities involved. This event has a substantial impact on the local economy, so it’s really good all around.”
Hatch said that there were prizes given away for attendees that drove the longest distance to attend the event, which had nominees from Nevada, Florida, South Carolina and more. “The winner was a gentleman that had driven all the way from California,” said Hatch. “It was amazing to see how far some of these people had come.”
As for next year, Hatch said that he and his team are already hard at work to ensure the event is even better than this year’s. “We’re already working on it, but nothing concrete just yet,” said Hatch. “We’re working on preliminary ideas right now, but we think our sponsors were all pleased with this year’s outcome, so we’ll try to make next year even bigger. There’ll be some new things for next year, though, I can say that.”
— Alex Petrie