FLINT — As soon as Back to the Bricks wrapped up its 2017 run, the founder of the event, Al Hatch, was already hard at work planning this year’s event – and so it goes, each and every year. Having founded the seminal annual experience 15 years ago, Hatch has said he had no idea that it would one day grow to its current size, attracting hundreds of thousands of guests each year, stimulating the local economy in Flint and providing a fun and family-friendly atmosphere throughout the city. Back to the Bricks will once again arrive in downtown Flint with its annual Tune-Up Week, arriving next Monday, Aug. 6.
Back to the Bricks attracts nearly half a million automotive enthusiasts each year, who make the pilgrimage to Vehicle City to celebrate their love of cars and the county’s historic role in the evolution of the automotive industry. Tune-Up Parties and Promo Tours, which lead up to the main event, help to generate interest and enthusiasm in the annual festival, which provides a showcase for classic, custom and collectible vehicles of all makes and models. During the Back to the Bricks event, Flint, which served as the birthplace of America’s sports car, proudly plays host to a national reunion for Corvette aficionados, along with food vendors, music, and family-friendly activities.
“We had projected about 600,000 people and 40,000 cars for last year, and, even with the rain affecting the numbers a little bit, we were probably right around there,” said Hatch of last year’s event. “The 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.”
Now that the main event is revving up, a number of events and activities to help kick things off will officially begin, starting on Monday evening with the first of the annual Tune- Up Parties. The nightly events take place on successive days from August 6-11. Attractions and activities vary by location, but include parties with a ‘50s, ‘60s, or ‘70s theme, concessions, vendors, live music, dancing in the streets, giveaways and the opportunity to share stories with fellow car show enthusiasts from around the area.
The five-day main event extravaganza begins Tuesday, Aug. 14 with a family-oriented party at a nostalgic Drive-In theatre. Excited crowds will line the streets for the “Rolling Cruises.” On Friday, Aug. 17 there is a car show, concert, and dance party with a Motown theme. Thousands stroll the brick streets on Saturday, Aug. 18 to admire vehicles of every age and description, take pictures, buy souvenirs, and enjoy the fun.
“It’s going to be a really great week for Flint and Genesee County,” said Hatch. “We attract people from up to 1,500 miles away, not to mention all the people from Michigan and the surrounding areas. It’s pretty great.”
For more information, check out the Back to the Bricks website at www.backtothebricks.org and check back next week for the Event Guide, which will detail the schedule for this year’s event. — Alex Petrie
Editor’s Note: View Newspaper Group is proud to be a Media Gold Sponsor of Back to the Bricks and the official publisher of the Back to the Bricks Event Guide which can be found in next Thursday’s newspaper. Check out the Event Guide for a full schedule and much, much more.