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Back to the Bricks cancels downtown Flint activities this summer

 Back to the Bricks takes over downtown Flint with dozens of cars parked along Saginaw Street and hundreds of people checking them out.
Back to the Bricks takes over downtown Flint with dozens of cars parked along Saginaw Street and hundreds of people checking them out. (WJRT)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 11:04 AM EDT
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(6/25/2020) - Like many festivals and gatherings, Back the Bricks will look and feel much different this summer due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers have canceled the car show and most other events in downtown Flint for the August 2020 version. But they hope to return bigger and better for the 2021 Back to the Bricks.

"We did not come at this decision quickly, and it is not easy navigating through these unprecedented times, but although we are cutting back on some of our normal activities, we are adding a few new things to enhance this years’ experience and make it safer for everyone," organizers said in a statement on Thursday.

The following Back to the Bricks events will not happen in 2020:

-- Rolling Cruise on Saginaw Street and the companion Mega Site.

-- Hot Dog Lunch.

-- Classic Car Lot.

-- The live concert in downtown Flint will be replaced by a special presentation airing on ABC12 on Aug. 14.

-- Opening Ceremony.

"We know that many will be disappointed with the changes that we need to make, but we hope it is understood that the Back to the Bricks organization puts the safety of everyone above and beyond anything else," organizers said.

Many popular parts of Back to the Bricks will continue, such as the collector's magazine, commemorative T-shirt and root beer. They will be distributed in new and different ways, however.

A second Road Rally is being planned for July after the success of June's event, in which more than $5,200 was raised for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. Details of the rally were being finalized Thursday.

Tune Up Week will switch to drive-thru activities in various towns Aug. 3 to 8. The first 250 cruisers each night get the free Back to the Bricks collectors’ shirt and magazine handed through the window of their vehicle

The annual movie at U.S. 23 Drive-In is changing to the "Drive-thru at the Drive-In" from 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 11. The first 1,500 cruisers will receive a Back to the Bricks magazine and a “unique” 2020 placard.

The drive-in theater's concession stand will be open, but no long-term parking will be allowed.

Organizers lamented the big changes to this year's 16th annual Back to the Bricks, but they want to make sure vendors and car enthusiasts remain safe and healthy.

"We know that our car lovers want to get out, and we will make it happen, but it will just be a little bit different this year," the statement says. "We hope that if we all continue to do our part, by practicing proper social distancing, and lowering the curve, the virus will be contained."

The festival draws people from all over the U.S., which brings people to area hotels, restaurants, gas stations and shops.

"Numerous businesses and communities feel the impact of our Back to the Bricks events," the organizers' statement says. "We are devastated that this year, we cannot do more to help contribute to the local economy, but are looking at 2021 to be bigger and better than ever."

To keep people in the spirit, Back to the Bricks is enhancing its online merchandise sales with exclusive items released once a month.

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