Back to the Bricks events mostly cancelled

Changes to car show due to COVID-19 expected to downsize 2020 event

FLINT – There will not be a Back to the Bricks this year, as the community knows it, but there will still be some events marking the 16th annual car show.

Executive Director Amber Taylor announced Thursday Back to the Bricks will be scaled back with no rolling cruise, opening ceremony or Friday night concert this year.

Instead, she said there will be slightly changed Tune-Up parties and a drive-thru event at the U.S. 23 Drive-In that will take the place of the cruise and main event in downtown Flint.

“After careful consideration and consultation with our Back to the Bricks Board, sponsors and many, many volunteers, the 16th Annual Back to the Bricks Car Show will look and feel much different from previous years,” said Taylor. “We did not come at this decision quickly, and it is not easy navigating through these unprecedented times, but although we are cutting back on some of our normal activities, we are adding a few new things to enhance this years’ experience and make it safer for everyone.”

Traditionally, Back to the Bricks events would draw people from all around the U.S., necessitating overnight stays, which impact hotels and restaurants, fueling stations, shops in downtown Flint and surrounding areas, she said.

“We are devastated that this year, we cannot do more to help contribute to the local economy but are looking at 2021 to be bigger and better than ever,” said Taylor.

She said B2B is also enhancing Back to the Bricks merchandise offerings sold online, with exclusive items to be released once a month.

Based on the excitement and feedback of the first ever Road Rally held in early June, the organization will be adding another one for car lovers to enjoy. The event will take place in late July, with details coming soon.

The June 13 Road Rally generated more than $5,000 in donations for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, a well needed boost during these troubling times, said Taylor.

“We know that many will be disappointed with the changes that we need to make, but we hope it is understood that the Back to the Bricks organization puts the safety of everyone above and beyond anything else,” said Taylor. “We know that our car lovers want to get out, and we will make it happen, but it will just be a little bit different this year. We hope that if we all continue to do our part, by practicing proper social distancing, and lowering the curve, the virus will be contained.”

Taylor, who became the first executive director of Back to the Bricks in January, said she’s had her hands full since taking over her new responsibilities.

“I think they say they make strong leaders by what they have to go through,” she said. “I have the best leader ahead of me and I’m learning from him…Al Hatch is still a part of our organization and is giving us some great guidance.”

Taylor also thanked Steve Hobson, chairman of the board, for his help as well as she’s tackled not only learning a new job, but tackling the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the vent and the community.

Taylor outlined what elements of Back to the Bricks have been cancelled, and what has been modified to go forward in August.

Cancelled is the Rolling Cruise – Aug. 12-13, which includes Mega Site at Saginaw and Hemphill; the Hot Dog Lunch – Aug. 14; the Classic Car Lot – Aug. 15; opening ceremonies – Aug. 15; and the concert – Aug. 14.

In lieu of a concert, a Back to the Bricks special presentation will air on ABC12, Aug. 14.

Changes for the 2020 B2B include:

Tune Up parties are changing slightly to “Drive-Thru” events. Aug. 3-8. Back to the Bricks will set up in various cities and offer a Drive-Thru feel for all participants.

Taylor said cruisers will enjoy cruising through the various towns, with the first 250 cruisers each night getting the free Back to the Bricks collectors’ shirt and Back to the Bricks magazine handed out through the window of their vehicle. Long-term parking will not be allowed on the streets in any city.

This year, instead of a movie presentation at the U.S. 23 Drive-In on Fenton Road, the event will be a “Drive-Thru at the Drive-In”. Event will be offered to cruisers only. The first 1,500 cruisers will receive a Back to the Bricks magazine and 2020 placard. These will be handed out, through the window, as cruisers pass the D.J. located at the front of the concession stand.

The US-23 management will have the concession stand, for take-out purchases, through walkup windows. Please follow all requirements set for social distancing. There will be designated, short-term parking for concession purchases only.

This event will be at US-23 Drive-In on Aug. 11, from 3-7 p.m., or until the magazines are gone. Long-term parking will not be allowed on the premises.

“Back to the Bricks will not be held in downtown Flint,” said Taylor “We are putting the safety and concern of all Back to the Bricks participants, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, and spectators before anything else. Although the situation we are in today could change by Aug. 15, and possibly be safe for people to meet, we believe it’s in the best interest of all, to slim down this year’s events and offer a unique experience, an alternative to the main event.”

There will be a Drive-Thru event on Aug. 15, but location and details are still in discussions. Details: Visit backtothebricks.org/