Jul 22, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
More than hot rods rolled into the area last weekend for the 9th Annual DuPont Hot Hues Syracuse Nationals – organizers estimated thousands of spectators, participants and vendors pumped about $11 million into local economy.
At the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, the host hotel of Nationals, Director of Sales and Marketing Tiffany Gallagher said the event definitely has a positive impact on the local economy. Not far from the fairgrounds at Bridge Street Tavern in Solvay, business picked up for the weekend, said Patrick, who runs the kitchen there. And with the number of classic and custom cars cruising the roads around Central New York throughout the weekend, gas stations were sure to enjoy the extra boost.
Cars instead of cows
Robert McLean, communications manager for Right Coast, said the 9th annual Nationals brought in 6,790 cars from across the country.
“It’s just like the state fair, but with cars instead of cows,” McLean said as he carefully maneuvered through human traffic in a golf cart.
Planning for the first event began in 1999, when street rod enthusiast Bob O’Connor wanted to bring a large car show to Central New York.
The Syracuse Nationals are different from other large events of their kind, said McLean, in that it is geared towards car enthusiasts of all levels of interest and experience, not just individuals who own or restore cars.
Including more than 300 commercial vendors, arts and crafts exhibits, fireworks displays, live music and special events at the grand stand were a few of the ways organizers catered to a broader crowd.
And after only nine years, the Nationals are one of the largest shows of its kind in the country, bringing more first-timers in every year, along with a solid crowd of returning participants.
Jack Robinson, of Camillus, was at the show with his 1969 Morris Mini-Cooper for the ninth year.
“I’m a charter member,” Robinson said from a lawn chair in the shade near Chevrolet Court.
The Nationals offer a variety of cars and activities Robinson does not find at other car shows, but even among thousands show cars, his Mini was still a rarity.
As evidenced by the reaction of show-goers: Robinson said one year he washed 40 nose prints from the windows at the end of the day.
He said probably 70 percent of passersby stop to ask him about the gas mileage.
“It gets 36 to 40 miles per gallon,” he said. “If I took it a little easier, I’d probably get a little more.
It’s the time of the season
Like many of the classic, custom and rare autos on display, Robinson’s mini is stored for the winter. That is one reason McLean believes the high gas prices did not significantly impact the number of registrants for this year’s show.
Most people do not build a $90 thousand street rod, then leave it in the garage because gas is too expensive to drive to a show, McLean said — especially in a region where the weather only permits car shows for about three months out of the year.