North Gratiot Cruise Hits Brakes in 2011
The North Gratiot Cruise will be taking another year off with hopes of returning next summer.
The North Gratiot Cruise stalled again this year due to a lack of sponsorships and manpower to organize the event in Chesterfield Township.
Similar conditions caused the cruise to be called off last year. Car enthusiasts will have to wait until 2012 to show off their rides in the cruise, North Gratiot Cruise Foundation President John A. Vecchio said Wednesday.
Vecchio, who took over The Fillin' Station last year, said money has been tight at the bar.
“When (my father) died, the bar was facing foreclosure and it took all that I had as far as time goes to keep this place going and keep it on track,” he said. “I took over the business and had to put the cruise on hold again this year.
“You never know what life has in store for you, so I just didn’t have the time to invest when the business was failing and I needed to put all of my efforts toward keeping things going here.”
Without a committee to organize the event, Vecchio said planning the cruise alone is an overwhelming task.
“It takes the help of a dozen different people,” he explained. “There’s a lot involved in getting the OK from the road commission and the township, and for one person to do all of that, it’s kind of overwhelming, especially with the state of the business.”
Looking Down the Road
Vecchio is in the beginning stages of planning a cruise for next year. Within the next few months he hopes to establish a formal committee of volunteers and gain support from the community.
He is working to get a nonprofit status for his foundation, which he said would make it easier to get donations from larger businesses and corporations to help with the cruise.
Vecchio stepped up to the plate in 2009 after former cruise organizers asked for someone to take over. He started the foundation that year and put on the cruise, which raised about $10,000 for Macomb County Sheriff Office and Chesterfield Township K-9 units.
For more information on the cruise committee, contact Vecchio at email@example.com.