Letter: Car shows definitely not passé

Letter is in response to Coun. Ross's remarks concerning the request by Park in the Park for a donation of $1,000 for a banner.

This letter is in response to Coun. Ross’s remarks concerning the request by Park in the Park for a donation of $1,000 for a banner promoting the annual car show.

It is appreciated that the rest of council approved the grant but it is apparent that Ms. Ross did not attend last year’s event or she would have seen the response of 160 entrants and more than 1,000 spectators that took in the event.

Ms. Ross’s statement that “celebrating cars is passe” and “maybe Barrett Jackson should pay the $1,000” shows that Ms. Ross doesn’t realize nor does she appreciate how much value car shows bring to the communities they are held in. We hope that after attending this year’s event she will change her mind.

The following only proves that car shows are NOT passé. (As a side note, Mr. Jackson of Barrett Jackson Auto Auctions has raised more than $20 million for charity since 2006.)

The first car show in Chicago was held in 1901.

Pebble Beach Concours in California was started in 1950 and has 200 of the most prized collector cars in the world. It has raised more that $16 million for charity. This one-day event has turned into a week-long event bringing millions of tourism dollars to the Monterey area.

The Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California has been an annual event for 66 years and has more than 500 collector cars and this year in January had 40,000 spectators.

Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada was started in 1986 and has more than 5,000 classic vehicles and more than 100,000 spectators. This event has raised millions for charity.

Draggin’s Rod & Custom Car Show in Saskatoon has been an annual event for 54 years.

B.C. Classic & Custom Car Show in Abbotsford is in its 19th year, has 275 specialty vehicles, almost 20,000 spectators attend and the financial impact to the community is in the six figures.

Closer to home there is the Peach City Beach Cruise in Penticton. In the first year in 2001 there were 250 cars. It is now a three-day event with more than 800 vehicles and it is estimated that the event brings in $1.5 million in tourist revenue.

In Peachland, the “World of Wheels” event began 18 years ago with 75 cars. It now has more than 550 cars and brings in more than 10,000 visitors to the town for the day. The estimated amount of tourism dollars to the town for the event is in the thousands. The stores, restaurants and shops are full for this one day.

In the Okanagan and Kootenay region from May through November, there are an estimated 36 car shows annually.

Last year many of the registered entrants to Park in the Park spent three to four days or more in Grand Forks where they stayed in the motels, ate in the restaurants and shopped in the stores. One can only imagine how many tourist dollars were brought in because of this show.

Interest in cars and car shows is not waning and generations of car enthusiasts has and will carry on the “love affair”.

As for Mr. Ronaghan’s statement in Rousing the Rabble that “cars are just a means of transportation,” here’s a statistic for you: the highest value paid for a classic vehicle at auction in 2014 was more that $38 million. The original price for this vehicle when new in 1962 was $18,000. Have your investments risen that much?

For many people cars are not “just a means of transportation”.

In closing, the City of Grand Forks should be supportive and proud that a small group of car enthusiasts put in the effort to bring this event to our beautiful park.

Rod & Liz Souder,

Barry Ballard,

Phil Olson,

Heather Underwood,

Yvonne Tedesco,

Jack and Ruth Siegrist,

of Grand Forks