Classic car show a winner | August 1, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - August 1, 2008

Classic car show a winner

Event draws crowds to downtown Danville; organizers pleased with feedback

by Meghan Neal

Everyone seems to agree: Last week's Hot Summer Nights car show was a hit.

"It was fabulous. It went fabulous. We had an awesome turnout," said show organizer David Miller.

Thousands of people poured into downtown Danville to admire the classic cars. Early on, the sun was hot and the crowds somewhat sparse, but as the night cooled down the energy picked up.

By 8 o'clock there were 12,000 people bustling about the show, Miller said. He expects to see even more at the second and final show, on Aug. 21.

Thanks to the large crowd, restaurants downtown were packed throughout the evening. But many retail shops closed for the night, having found in past years that business was slow during the busy event.

Some stores stayed open despite the commotion, such as Rick's Picks and Twenty One Tango, both on the main drag, Hartz Avenue.

"We don't get a lot of traffic but you know, events like that are hit or miss," said Rick Hirshberg, owner of Rick's Picks.

He stays open every year during the car show. Sales are generally pretty low, but it's a great marketing opportunity, he said.

"Any time there are thousands of people walking by your store, it's a fairly good thing," he said. "You pick up one or two customers, they tell other people ... you've got to look at the big picture."

Tammy Cardinal, store manager at Twenty One Tango, said the event was fun even if business wasn't booming.

Merchants who worry about the people that come down for the show are overreacting, she said, noting that in the four years she's been working at the clothing shop, there's never been any trouble.

Police made no arrests and wrote no citations at the show, though there were a couple minor disturbances, said Lt. Mark Williams. About 50 people - a mix of officers and volunteers - staffed the event.

"It went well," Williams said. "It worked out well for everyone."

Miller said he heard a lot of positive feedback from car owners and the general public about the 1960s cars displayed this year, for the first time since the show's inception 13 years ago.

"They're so used to the old hotrods," he said. "To finally get to see, you know, the GTOs, the Shelby Cobras, all the gorgeous Mustangs ... it was just a nice refreshing change. People really liked it."