Dream Cruise's Michael Lary

BY Crystal A. Proxmire

Between Ourselves

FERNDALE -

Behind the scenes of the mammoth hot-rodding, classic-car-loving, traffic-jam-celebrating Woodward Dream Cruise is an activist and event enthusiast named Michael Lary. He's been event coordinator of the Ferndale Dream Cruise since 2005, and has a long history of bringing people together, not just over cars, but also over gay pride. Dream Cruise takes place August 16-18 in Downtown Ferndale. For more info go to http://www.ferndaledreamcruise.com/.

1. What events have you worked on prior to the Dream Cruise?

I was the coordinator of "PrideFest" from 1992 to 2002, and founder of South East Michigan Pride, the parent non-profit organization of PrideFest Celebration, Michigan's Lesbian & Gay ComedyFest and the Michigan Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. I was owner and operator of Just 4 Us in downtown Ferndale from 1997 until early 2005. My first pride event was at the Royal Oak Community College in 1991. Times have certainly changed since then...and that's primarily awesome! Back in 1991, we weren't visible yet. The community wasn't ready to be Out. Loud and Proud. Now, here it is 2012. How times have changed. Due to determination, commanding voices and faces being seen, we are linking to a wider audience of acceptance.

2. What do you enjoy about event planning?

The challenge. Trying to make your vision become a reality. When first taking on the challenge of coordinating the Ferndale Woodward Dream Cruise I did not "get it." It took a couple of years and speaking with car enthusiast before I realized what the Dream Cruise was all about. It's not just about the car. It's also about the pride, passion and joy that comes from owning, building and driving the vehicles from days gone by. The Ferndale Woodward Dream Cruise stars are the cars followed by the things that make being at an event exciting, entertaining and fun. To build community you must bring people together. Special events bring commonalities to the same space. You make new friends and discover new art, music and delicious elephant ears!!

3. What goes into planning the event that people may not think about?

Coordinating the event begins in early February involving sponsorships, logistics, volunteer recruitment, merchandise sales, website updates and event promotions. I also represent the City of Ferndale on the Board of the Woodward Dream Cruise, Inc., as Vice President.

4. What are some things readers may enjoy about Dream Cruise this year?

In Ferndale, we will be attempting to feature two new activities; "Cars In Art" where artists will create and paint an automotive theme on vehicles, and "Restoration Academy" where a group of young and retired engineers will build a classic car on location. Both of these activities will begin on Thursday, Aug. 16 in hopes of completion by Saturday, Aug. 18 afternoon. You can watch the process as it happens.

5. Has being gay caused any problems in your work?

Absolutely not. If there were, I would feel sorry for the fool. My coworkers are wonderful people.

6. What else should people know about you?

I don't own a classic car...yet.

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