Hot August Nights hopes to rev up local economy |

Hot August Nights hopes to rev up local economy

Annie Flanzraich and Roseann Keegan
Tahoe Daily Tribune
Annie Flanzraich / Tahoe Daily TribuneA pair of "Hot August Nights" dice hang in the window of a blue 1968 Pontiac Firebird parked Friday at the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa for the Hot August Nights Daily Show-n-Shine and car judging.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The gold paint on Dave Hobson’s 1923 Ford street rod shimmered in the morning sun Friday as he wiped off the bugs that had accumulated on the car’s front during his drive from Somerset, Calif.

“I think I got all the bugs,” he laughed.

One of the many participants in the inaugural Hot August Nights festival in South Lake Tahoe, Hobson said it was good to be in Tahoe.

“It’s closer to home and of course you’ve got the lake,” he said. “I hope they do it again next year.”

Hobson’s ride is parked at the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa and has a custom built chassis, automatic overdrive transmission and 330 horse power.

“It’s a lot of fun to drive,” he said.

The car’s backseat also comes in handy, he said.

“When my wife wants to back-seat drive, that’s where she has to ride,” he said. “Actually, it’s for the grandkids.”

Hot August Nights, a celebration of the American car culture of the 50s and 60s, has been a Reno fixture since 1986. Reno’s event begins Monday and winds down Aug. 8.

South Lake Tahoe was added as a sister event this year, while Long Beach, Calif., will join the roster in 2011 for six year-run.

Organizers deny that the event will leave the region to cruise exclusively in Long Beach, contrary to a recent article in the Los Angeles Business Journal that detailed plans to leave Reno indefinitely.

“That was totally inaccurate,” said Bruce Walter, Hot August Nights CEO. “Our focus right now is boots on the ground for this event.”

For however long the event stays in the region, it’s a turbo charge to the economy. Mike Frye, sales and events manager for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, said the host hotels in Stateline’s casino corridor were at capacity by Thursday.

“I think it’s a monster brand,” Frye said. “People in this region know what it is and people already love it, so it is an incredible opportunity to put people in hotel rooms; it stimulates dining, commerce, and retail in our grocery stores.”

Initially, Walter aimed to have 300 cars registered in the inaugural event. That goal was met during the first day of registration.

“There’s 650 cars,” Frye said. “So that’s monstrous.”

Three hundred and fifty cars will be auctioned off this weekend in the MontBleu Theatre, a swap meet will be held in Heavenly Mountain Resort’s California parking lot, show and shines are set and bands will perform at indoor and outdoor venues.

MontBleu and the Horizon’s parking lots will have 650 cars on display from 14 states, including New York and Alabama.

“For us, it’s a win for people in our community and stimulating the commerce,” Frye said. “We hope to find other events like this and continue to grow our event base.”

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– Lake Tahoe Action Editor Tim Parsons contributed to this report.

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