Solvay: Nationals rev up economy

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.

Charter member

Jack Robinson, of Camillus, was at the show with his 1969 Morris Mini-Cooper for the ninth year.

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