Blue Suede Cruise rolls into town for 10th annual event

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Blue Suede Cruise is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, but festival organizers are focusing on classic cars rather than an anniversary party.
Fans are already flocking to the festival to see classic cars, catch a drive-in movie, hear good music and talk cars, so why mess with that successful formula?
“It’s always worked in years past,” said Allen McDaniel, curator at the Tupelo Automobile Museum and director of the Blue Suede Cruise.
This year, the Blue Suede Cruise will welcome more than 330 classic cars from Tupelo, Canada, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Georgia and more.
“We have all kinds of cars,” McDaniel said. “Most cars need to be 25 or older, but we do allow newer cars like muscle cars.”
Cruisers can leave their cars parked in the BancorpSouth Arena lot for folks to drool over, or they can drive them around town getting their CARds stamped at various Tupelo hot spots. Those CARds could equal cash prizes for cruisers who get out to explore the town, McDaniel said.
The Blue Suede Cruise kicks off with a drive-in movie tonight, followed by music, Johnny’s burgers and, of course, cars, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning. A classic car parade will snake through Tupelo at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The music at Blue Suede Cruise includes Bill Brooks on Friday and Swing Shift on Saturday, and the Van Dells will perform both days. Music fans should bring a lawn chair if they want to listen for a while, McDaniel said.
At the museum, NASCAR fans can check out Petty’s Garage National Performance Tour & Exhibit. The exhibit, which focuses on Richard Petty memorabilia, vehicles and merchandise, will only be open at the museum for Friday and Saturday.
The museum continues a busy May with the Horses in the House Mustang exhibit, from May 5-26, and the Blue Oval Cruise featuring Ford vehicles on May 12.
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com