Cool cars will cruise through a historic West Bay City neighborhood in July

Classic cars will cruise the historic Midland Street Business District again when the Cool City Car Show and Cruz returns to Bay City’s West Side next month.

Since the car show began in 1995, it’s raised $395,000 for the American Cancer Society. Organizer Greg Kimbrue says that tradition continues with the 2024 show.

The 2024 event will feature fan favorites, such as a Friday night cruise from Essexville to Midland Street, but also introduce new events. If the weather cooperates, Kimbrue expects the event to draw about 500,000 people between car owners and spectators.

It all starts at 5:30 p.m. Fri., July 12 when about 300 classic cars gather at McLaren Bay Region Family Health and Wellness Center, 1458 W. Center Road. From there, the cars will wind through Downtown Bay City before traveling across Veterans Memorial Bridge and ending in the Midland Street Business District. 

Graphic courtesy of the Cool City Car Show and Cruz“We’ll have ourselves a little walk-around car show, there will be a band playing, and a little street party,” Kimbrue says about the Friday night festivities.

During the Sat., July 13 car show, Kimbrue expects between 400 and 500 cars to line the streets, allowing spectators to see classic vehicles up close and talk to the owners. 

Scouts from the Boy Scout Troop at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 103 E. Midland St., will sell food and drinks on the streets while the bars and restaurants offer their usual fare.

“This is a big return to the West Side for the car show,” KImbrue says. 

Back in 1995 when the first Cool City Car Show took place, it was held in Veterans Park near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In about 2000, the show moved to Downtown Bay City and stayed there.

“This will be the first time in years the actual car show on Saturday will be back on the West Side,” Kimbrue says. “If we have our say about it, and I think we will, it will stay over here.”

New this year is the Midland Street Jeep Show, set for 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun., July 14. Awards are being offered in six different categories for the Jeep Show. 

During the Jeep Show, the Midland Street Merchants also host a mimosa crawl. Tickets are $35 for the noon to 4 p.m. Mosa Crawl on Sun., July 14. Ticket holders will be able to see the Jeeps while enjoying mimosas and snacks from 13 eateries in the district.

With a month to go before the 2024 event, Kimbrue is already thinking about how he can expand the show in 2025. He hopes to incorporate the Jeep Show into the main car show. He also may add motorcycles to the mix.

“Our goal would be to continue to grow the event,” Kimbrue says. “Next year, it will be a three-day event, a Friday, Saturday, Sunday event.”

What won’t change is the event’s primary mission of raising money to fight cancer.

Kimbrue is a cancer survivor himself. He underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation in the 1980s after doctors discovered a tumor behind his ear.

“I’m lucky. It’s just that simple,” Kimbrue says. “There have been a lot of advancements in cancer treatment, but there’s still people dying every day of cancer. Cancer is like a little specter that wanders alongside of us all and picks and chooses who it’s taking then disappears for awhile. Then, before you know it, it’s back again.”

Sponsors of the 2024 event include the Midland Street Merchants Association and Thelen Auto Group, 4191 N. Euclid Ave. The Cool City Car Show and Cruz also partnered with Bay City Car Meet LLC, a group of car enthusiasts who meet once a week.

Admission is free for spectators. The entry fee for car show and cruise is $20. The entry fee for the Jeep show is $15.

Call Kimbrue at (989) 450-2228 for information or to volunteer for the Cool City Car Show and Cruz. Call Jay Samborn at (989) 450-2016 for more information about the Midland Street Jeep Show.
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Read more articles by Kathy Roberts.

Kathy Roberts, a graduate of Central Michigan University, moved to Bay City in 1987 to start a career in the newspaper industry. She was a reporter and editor at the Bay City Times for 15 years before leaving to work at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Covenant HealthCare, and Ohno Design. In 2019, she returned to her storytelling roots as the Managing Editor of Route Bay City. When she’s not editing or writing stories, you can find her reading books, knitting, or visiting the bars of Bay County. You can reach Kathy at