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Inaugural Daytona Beach Dream Cruise • October 24-26, 2008

The inaugural Daytona Beach Dream Cruise was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 24-26, 2008. It was a big, unique gathering of special cars and trucks, open to all makes and years, with activities throughout the Daytona Beach area. Nearly 1,200 vehicles participated in this first-time event.

Created by the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Daytona Beach Dream Cruise is intended to be different from other Florida car events. Event Director, Rick D’Louhy says “Because we already have great car events in the Daytona Beach area just a month later (the Daytona Turkey Run at Daytona International Speedway, and the Gaslight Parade/Show in Ormond Beach), we’re striving to give the Daytona Beach Dream Cruise its own distinct character so enthusiasts will want to join us for it the fourth weekend of October each year and then come back for these other events Thanksgiving weekend. We’re not doing the types of things done at those other events, but instead, we’re developing unique features for the Daytona Beach Dream Cruise”.

The name of the Daytona Beach Dream Cruise is similar to the well-known Woodward Dream Cruise in the Detroit area. For 2008, cruising along Atlantic Avenue (A1A) Saturday day and night was scattered. Rick D’Louhy recognizes that the cruising route in 2008 was too long. For 2009, the recommended cruising route will be greatly compressed (1/3 the length of last year) to produce a greater concentration of cruising vehicles. This will be more fun for cruisers and facilitate public viewing of cruising along Atlantic Avenue. There will also be more specific suggested times for cruising so everyone will know when to anticipate the maximized cruising enjoyment.

Sponsored by National Parts Depot and Allstate Insurance, the 2008 event was totally free for participants and the general public. There were no registration fees and no admission fees. Golden Classics of Clearwater, Florida was also a major sponsor.

The event kicked off Friday evening with an entertaining competition of Elvis Tribute Artists. Saturday promised to be a huge day because more than 1,200 cars had registered in advance for the event. In order to accommodate so many vehicles, a big parking lot was needed and the Volusia Mall was designated for check-in and photo taking.

Saturday morning, it started to rain when check-in was going to begin. This forced a delay due to inability to shoot the promised photos. When it cleared up, there was a huge line of cars waiting to receive giveaways and be photographed. It took a while to get caught up with all the vehicles in line, but for those who were patient, they got a really nice free digitally enhanced photo of their vehicle. Rick D’Louhy apologizes for the long line that some experienced. He wants everyone to know that the check-in and photo taking procedures are being streamlined to allow more vehicles to come through more quickly in 2009.

A free digitally-enhanced photo was given to the owner of each special car or truck who brought that vehicle to the photo session on Saturday. These terrific free photos are now posted on for everyone to enjoy. Thanks to Golden Classics of Clearwater, Florida for making these free photos possible. In addition to the free official event photos, there are hundreds of other pictures shot by participants at the 2008 event available for viewing on the web site.

Saturday’s activities, in addition to Atlantic Avenue Cruising, included a big static display at the Volusia Mall with live entertainment, open houses at Crane Cams and Raabe Racing, a super sock hop at Down the Hatch in Ponce Inlet (near the historic lighthouse visited by some participants) and free outdoor car-theme movies at the mall that night. Movie viewers really enjoyed seeing the 1957 and 1958 NASCAR convertible races on the beach (before the speedway was built), and the first Daytona 500 in 1959 at Daytona International Speedway.

Sunday’s grand finale was held at The Aquarium, a unique restaurant at the scenic Halifax Harbor Marina where tremendous numbers of vehicles were displayed. The turnout was so big that The Aquarium didn’t have enough staff or food to meet demands. They’ll be prepared for big crowds in 2009 and car enthusiasts who attended this gathering are looking forward to returning. Five lucky participants each went home with $200.00 cash from the free drawing held at the conclusion of this gathering.

With nearly 1,200 special cars and trucks participating in the Daytona Beach Dream Cruise, and with positive feedback from first year attendees, the event should grow significantly in the future. Additional special activities are being planned to accommodate more special vehicles and to satisfy more car and truck enthusiasts this year. To better appreciate what took place in 2008 and to keep informed about 2009’s unique features, quicker check-in and cruising enhancements, and to see a helpful list of hotel package deals as well as a map and event schedule as we get closer to the event, you’ll want to visit the official web site . While the Daytona Beach Dream Cruise will again be free for those who participate with their special cars and trucks and for the general public, online registration is recommended to ensure you’ll be notified of event updates by E-Mail.

For information contact Rick D’Louhy at 386-672-1861 or E-Mail We’ll see you at the next Daytona Beach Dream Cruise, to be held on October 23-24-25, 2009. CN