All Roads Lead to the Bricks!

Back to the Bricks attracts over 500,000 car enthusiasts annually to Genesee County to celebrate our love of motor vehicles, and the area’s historic role in the automotive industry. Tune-up Parties and Promo Tours generate enthusiasm in advance of the Main Event which provides a showcase for classic, custom, and collector vehicles of all kinds. During the week, Flint, birthplace of “America’s Sports Car”, proudly hosts a National Reunion for Corvette aficionados. Music, food vendors, and family-friendly activities add to the festive atmosphere.




The five-day extravaganza begins with a family-oriented party at a nostalgic Drive-In theatre.  Excited crowds line the streets for the “Rolling Cruises.” On Friday, there is a car show, concert, and dance party with a Motown theme. Thousands stroll the brick streets on Saturday to admire vehicles of every age and description, take pictures, buy souvenirs, and enjoy the fun.

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During the week prior to the main event, the excitement builds as Tune-up Parties rev up on successive days around the county.  Attractions and activities vary by location, but include parties with a 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s theme, concessions, vendors, live music, dancing in the streets, giveaways, and the opportunity to drive around the track at Auto City Speedway in Clio, Michigan.

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Promo Tours each June are a time of adventure and camaraderie for hundreds of classic car owners. The tours are designed to generate enthusiasm for Back to the Bricks with mini car shows in each locale along the way and tours of automotive facilities and museums for the participants.  Routes have included parts of Ohio, Indiana, and a host of cities in Michigan with communities vying  to be included.

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For the first time, Back to the Bricks and Buick will sponsor an indoor winter car show, “Chrome and Ice.” The inaugural event, scheduled for February 12-13, 2016 at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint, Michigan, will feature a “summertime” theme, complete with sand and palm trees, and entertainment by a California-based “beach boy” band.

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In the fall of 2004, Al Hatch and other car enthusiasts began to discuss the possibility of a car show in downtown Flint that would complement and coincide with the ‘Woodward Dream Cruise’ in Detroit. Together, they began to take steps that would make Back to the Bricks a reality. When the committee approached Jerry Preston of the Flint Convention and Visitors Bureau about sponsoring the event, he arranged a meeting with the Small Business Owners of Downtown Flint to enlist their support for a bold new venture that promised to revitalize the city, and attract thousands to the area to celebrate the automotive industry and its role in the history of Flint.

With the backing of these two entities, the committee convinced city leaders to grant the necessary permits to close approximately three blocks of the historic “red bricks” under the arches of Saginaw Street for the first Back to the Bricks, scheduled for August 2005. Still, with no operating budget, and no major sponsors, the fledging organization faced a daunting task. Committee member, John Chapin, volunteered the artistic talents of his son Jason, to design the first giveaway, a t-shirt that would market the event to potential participants, and promotional flyers to advertise the “Bricks.” Doc Watson of the Hurst Shifter Corporation agreed to underwrite the cost of the t-shirts, and Jeff Giesert, owner of Economy Print in Downtown Flint, volunteered his services to produce the flyers. Stories in The Flint Journal and on ABC 12 News brought additional attention and generated enthusiasm for the project.

Few believed or could have envisioned the success of the new venture. Thanks to corporate sponsors like General Motors, Buick, ELGA Credit Union, and many others, Back to the Bricks has grown from a one-day event with only a few hundred cars and spectators to a multi-day extravaganza. The fun begins with Promo Tours each June to various locales around the Great Lakes. During the week prior to the Bricks, Tune-Up Parties across Genesee County set the stage for the Main Event. Combined, these festive celebrations today attract half a million car enthusiasts and spectators from around the nation and the world.

In 2012, Back to the Bricks unveiled the first of several commemorative statues of important automotive pioneers. Life-size bronze replicas of David Buick, William C. (Billy) Durant, Louis Chevrolet, and Albert Champion stand proudly in GM Automotive Pioneer Plaza in downtown Flint. Statues of Walter P. Chrysler and Charles W. Nash welcome visitors in the baggage claim area at Bishop Airport. A statue of Otto P. Graff stands at the corner of Court and Saginaw Street near the site of his early dealership. A bronze replica of  Charles Stewart Mott, local philanthropist, will soon grace the campus of the college that bears his name. The Statue Project plans to honor other historic figures from the automotive industry in the future. For the first time, Back to the Bricks and Buick will sponsor an indoor winter car show, “Chrome and Ice.” The inaugural event, scheduled for February 12-13, 2016  at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint, Michigan, will feature a “summertime” theme, complete with sand, palm trees, and entertainment by a California-based “beach boy” band.

In The Spotlight

  • Statues

      In 2012, Back to the Bricks unveiled the first of several commemorative statues of important automotive pioneers. Life-size bronze replicas of David Buick, William C. (Billy) Durant, Louis Chevrolet, and Albert Champion stand proudly in GM Automotive Pioneer Plaza in downtown Flint. Statues of Walter P. Chrysler and Charles W. Nash welcome visitors in the...

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  • Artomotive

    Designed to acknowledge the creativity and art of the automotive body shop and other painters and designers of automotive art, contestants use a vehicle hood as a canvas for their expression. Because the canvas is metal, it can not only be painted, but it can be cut, bent and otherwise formed at the artists desire....

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  • Artifacts

    Back to the Brick’s Auto Heritage Committee not only oversees the creation and display of bronze statues honoring Flint’s Automobile Pioneers, it also owns, maintains, restores and loans for display unusual and rare automobile memorabilia and artifacts including all or parts of special vehicles. This is just a part of its work in fulfilling Back...

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Monthly Newsletter will be placed here

The weather outside is not good so I find that this is a good opportunity to put in some computer time and write up this month’s ‘Monthly Update’. I suppose one could say ‘I’m just trying to put some lipstick on the pig today’; it certainly does not say much for the weather! Anyway, let’s get to the task at hand.
The ‘Back to the Bricks’ newest event, ‘CHROME & ICE’, is coming together nicely. All of the sponsorships are in place, the final ‘cut’ of the cars and trucks has been completed, and promotional material has been ordered so about the only thing left is the show itself. CHROME & ICE chairs Steve Hobson and Dale Frey have been working their fingers to the bone to insure that everyone will walk away saying to themselves: “This has been one of the best indoor auto events that I have ever been to or participated in – period!” We only have access to one arena this year and plan to have both arenas next year. Because of somewhat limited space, this year’s show can only feature thirty-five cars which may not sound like a lot of cars (which it is not) but rest assured, these are downright spectacular vehicles that you just don’t see at the local shows. I gotta tell you competition for the top cash prize of $1,000 per each class brings out cream of the crop. A number of them are valued at over a million dollars and one at a whopping three-and-half million dollars! We are going to let you figure which car it is. It might sound pretty easy to identify which one I am alluding to but I think you will be surprised to find that many of the entries could fall into that price range. By the way, it’s a Beach Party theme so bring your sunglasses, sandals and enjoy the great cars and entertainment. While you are there, don’t forget to purchase a limited edition of the inaugural and very first ‘CHROME & ICE’ tee-shirt.

One of the amazing things about our very first indoor event ‘CHROME & ICE’ is that, for the most part, all of the sponsors for the event are first time sponsors for any of the BttB events. Some of them we sought out, but most contacted us wanting to become involved. Our sponsors are as follows: The Ruth Mott Foundation, Premier Tooling, Majestic Sky Link, Benning’s Paint and Industrial Flooring, Insta Lube of Flint, Leitgeb Commercial Equipment, Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan, the Martin Miller Agency, Big Apple Bagel, the Frankenmuth Autofest, Attentive Industries and Eastern Asphalt. With the exception of two companies, all are brand new sponsors. I cannot over express our collective gratitude for the number of new sponsors that has joined up with the ‘BttB’ team because when we get right down to it, our sponsors are the vehicle, engine and fuel for everything the BttB promotes and we cannot thank them enough. In the February monthly update, I will be providing our valued readers a brief bio on our new sponsors with a formal introduction to all. Hopefully, you will see them at all of the sanctioned BttB events and if you do, please tell them ‘Thank you for your support of the Back to the Bricks and your community involvement’. I know they will appreciate the jesture.

On a more personal note, my wife and I are currently in Florida. As I said, the weather is pretty bad as I write this update. There is currently a tornado warning issued, high winds, thunder and lightning and heavy rain. So which is worse: Cold temps and snow or the fore mentioned weather? If you also plan to be heading this way via I-69/65 I would suggest stopping at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. The floor has been fixed in the dome area but it is interesting to me that they have chosen not to restore the Corvettes that fell into the hole. Three of the cars are so heavily damaged it is difficult to even tell if they are Corvettes. It is well worth your time to stop in and view the Corvette history. Another stop is in Atlanta. The Porsche Experience is located just off of I-75 on the south side of Atlanta near the airport on Porsche Drive. There is no charge for admission to tour the museum. You can have lunch, view the test track, and look at some of the latest Porsche creations. You don’t have to be a Porsche aficionado to enjoy it just being a ‘gear head’ qualifies. So, again, if you are not in a big rush to get to Florida I think you will be pleasantly pleased if you take advantage of these side trips and by the way, my wife even enjoyed both of the stops.

See you at the ‘CHROME & ICE’ indoor show, February 12th and 13th, 2016 at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan; a show you don’t want to miss.


Al Hatch, Board Chair and Founder


Back to the Bricks is proud to be a non-profit annual event. Sponsorship from the community is what really makes this happen.  We have been blessed to have substantial growth every year in our short history.  Please contact Back to the Bricks for information about becoming a sponsor.