FLINT — Back to the Bricks has officially kicked off its summertime residency in Flint, beginning with their annual Heritage Promo Tour, which begins in Flint and snakes 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.
All told, Back to the Bricks attracts more than 500,000 car enthusiasts to Genesee County every year, reestablishing Flint as the unofficial automobile mecca of Michigan. Founded by Al Hatch more than 11 years ago, Back to the Bricks has grown substantially, and now includes hundreds of registered vehicles, as well as thousands of spectators and automotive aficionados. The main event, which is a showcase for classic, custom and collectible vehicles of all kinds, takes place August 16-20 of this year, but the extravaganza begins in June, with the Promotional Tour.
This year’s Promo Tour began on June 9 with an excursion from Flint to Clare, and continuing on throughout Michigan. According to the event’s website, “the Promotional Tours are a time of adventure and camaraderie for hundreds of classic car owners. The tours are designed to generate enthusiasm for Back to the Bricks with mini car shows in each locale along the way, and tours of automotive facilities and museums for participants.”
This year’s Promotional Tour took participants from Flint to Clare on Friday, June 9, then on to Big Rapids, Muskegon, Coldwater, Adrian, and ending up in Fenton on Wednesday, June 14, totaling approximately 580 miles over the six-day period.
Al Hatch, the founder of Back to the Bricks, said fondly, “Who would have thought that seven years ago, when your Back to the Bricks committee came up with the Promo Tour idea, that it would have grown from 25 cars to 200 vehicles, and 400 people? But it has, and that is because of all of you.”
Rhonda Rau, the event chair for Back to the Bricks, addressed the crowd in Flint on the morning of the departure, stating that “We want every year to be better than the last. Everything we do on the Back to the Bricks committee is for you guys. We listen to what you have to say and we try to make sure we make you guys happy with a great trip every year.”
Though the excursion began with a little bit of rain, the sun emerged by the time the caravan reached Clare, ensuring a smooth ride to help kick off the summer and the Back to the Bricks annual event. Regardless of weather, participants on the are sure to remember their time with friends and family, driving across Michigan during the 2017 Promo Tour.
For more information, visit the event’s website at www.backtothebricks.org.
— Alex Petrie