Blue Suede Cruise to draw classic cars to Tupelo

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – If yesterday means anything to you, then the Tupelo Blue Suede Cruise may be just what you’re looking for.
From Thursday to Sunday, hundreds of classic cars and trucks will roll through Lee County’s highways and byways.
You’ll see old Buicks and Oldsmobiles, along with Trans Ams and Corvettes. Expect Model Ts, and more than a few Chevys.
In short, the Tupelo Blue Suede Cruise is a motorized celebration of days gone by. It’s $45 to register a car, but it won’t cost a cent to admire a variety of vintage vehicles at the BancorpSouth Arena parking lot.
“I think we’ll have the biggest crowd that we’ve ever had,” said Allen McDaniel, cruise director. “We expect to have about 350 to pre-register. If the weather cooperates, we usually double the pre-registration.”
This is the eighth Tupelo Blue Suede Cruise, so word’s getting out to classic car owners around the Southeast and beyond. Also, Lee County residents are getting more used to the event, McDaniel said.
“People are looking to do things closer to home,” he said. “They want to do something without breaking the bank. You can’t get better than free.”

On screen
At 7 p.m. Thursday, the Tupelo Automobile Museum will host a free screening of an Elvis Presley movie. McDaniel said he’s contractually prohibited from advertising the name of the movie, but “it stars Anne Margaret, and what happens there, stays there.”
Cars and trucks will start pulling into the BancorpSouth Arena on Friday. The Corvettes will perform ‘50s and ‘60s music at 5:30 p.m., then the Paul Rainey Band will perform songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
A parade will start at the Malco at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday. It’ll travel south on Gloster Street, then turn east on Main Street. The parade will end at the arena.
“We had about 300 cars last year,” McDaniel said. “It took a while.”
From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, the Bud Ward Classic Car Auction will go on inside the arena. The admission price is $5. McDaniel said cars fetched between $12,000 and $50,000 last year.
The Gents will perform classic hits at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and Gino will deliver Motown and R&B hits at 7 p.m.
Sunday morning will be reserved for gospel music recordings by Elvis.

‘Low, low price’
There’s a whole bunch of yesterday coming to town, and you’re invited to enjoy the chrome-plated nostalgia.
“If you want to have a good, fun-filled weekend with beautiful old cars and some of the friendliest people in the world and great entertainment,” McDaniel said, “and you want all of this for the low, low price of free, then we’re the place to be.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or

Rev your engines
– What: Tupelo Blue Suede Cruise
– Where: BancorpSouth Arena and Tupelo Automobile Museum
– Cost: Free to attend; $45 to register a vehicle
– Info: or (662) 842-4242
– Thursday: 7 p.m. – Drive-in movie at Tupelo Automobile Museum
– Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Registration
10 a.m. – 9 p.m. – Main cruise sites open
1 – 9 p.m. – Car corral, swap meet open
2 – 4 p.m. – Poker run open
5:30 p.m. – The Corvettes
7 p.m. – The Paul Rainey Band
– Saturday:
8 a.m.-1 p.m. – Registration
8:30 a.m. – Parade through downtown Tupelo
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Car corral, swap meet open
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Cruise and poker sites open
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Classic car auction, $5
noon – Bill Brooks’ Elvis tribute
5:30 p.m. – The Gents
7 p.m. – Gino
– Sunday
8 a.m. – Main site opens
8:45 a.m. – Elvis gospel music
10 a.m. – Winners announced

Seeing the sites
During their stay, many classic car owners at the Tupelo Blue Suede Cruise will travel to different sites in town.
They’ll hit the Tupelo Automobile Museum, the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum and the Oren Dunn City Museum.
The 2010 Dudie’s Burger Festival is scheduled for Saturday at the Oren Dunn City Museum in Ballard Park.

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