Queen City Cruise set for biggest year yet as Road Kings celebrate 10th anniversary
The excitement has already started for the biggest Queen City Cruise yet with more than 350 cars expected and an estimated 10,000 spectators for the 10th anniversary, Friday, Sept. 7 and Saturday, Sept. 8.
Registration is being taken for the international event hosted by the Nelson Road Kings, which attracts car collectors from Washington State, Idaho, Southern British Columbia and Southern Alberta.
"Everybody loves cars. . it's just bred into us," said car enthusiast and Nelson Road Kings president Mike Keegan.
"We like to think of them as rolling works of art. It's a lot of fun to see a lot of different cars ... I think we put on a pretty good show and people are really happy to come here."
Keegan has been involved with the Queen City Cruise since the beginning. He said the first show attracted 200 cars. Ten years later and he's expecting nearly double that.
"We did way better than we thought (during the first year)," said Keegan. "The most cars we've had were last year with 365 cars."
The event brings in an estimated $1.3 million into the local economy, not to mention the "dribble down effect", said Keegan.
"We fill up every hotel room in town," he said. "We have some people who never miss our show and they may not bring the same car every year."
"It's a nice economic boost for the accommodators and food and beverage establishments during the second week of September, and of course there is some natural spin-offs for many retail sales when you bring that many folks downtown especially to those businesses that embrace the Queen City Cruise," said Tom Thomson, Executive Director at Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce.
"Based on the numbers of folks you see on Baker Street year after year, it is certainly well received from our residents as thousands of people make the annual stroll down Baker Street checking out the cars.
It is certainly an all ages event with moms dads, grandparents and kids all enjoying the cars."
Keegan said the setting really makes the show even more special.
On Saturday, Baker Street is completely blocked off to vehicular traffic and the show cars are nestled in amongst the beautiful heritage buildings, making for a stunning outdoor Show and Shine exhibit.
Everything from classic cars to super special modern cars is included. Owners are on hand to proudly display their vehicle, so there's lots of opportunity for car talk while touring the street.
The Show and Shine starts at 10 a.m.
To avoid the crowds, Keegan suggests getting there before noon.
"The early morning is best but not all the cars will be there yet and the crowds are half the fun," said Keegan.
Vehicle registration is open until the day of the event. An early bird fee of $16 is good until September 1. After that it is $20 entry.
Advanced tickets for the popular Roof Top Dance at the Parkade are available at the Hume Hotel.
The event does sell out every year, and with only 1,000 tickets available Keegan warns dancers to get theirs soon.
The dance will feature the live band Rocky and the Rollers.
Rocky and the Rollers hail from Florida and spend their winters playing on the cruise lines out of Florida, said Keegan.
"They're a big time music show band," he said.
This year there is also an added bonus to the tickets — a free ride home courtesy of Kootenay Insurance Services and Glacier Cabs.
The annual soapbox derby, organized by Elliot Carter of Nelson Chrysler, is also on again this year on Friday, Sept. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. on Kootenay Street in Nelson.
To view a complete schedule of events check out the Road Kings official website at www.nelsonroadkings.com.
Fireworks not in the works for Queen City Cruise
Despite local rumour, the annual fireworks that were cancelled for the Canada Day Festivities this year will not be set off during the Queen City Cruise weekend, said Tom Thomson, executive director for the Nelson Chamber of Commerce.
"There is an outside chance the fireworks may be used at an event this year," said Thomson in an email interview with The Nelson Daily.
"We would have to find a time or an event that worked for the Chamber, the community and of course the Nelson Firefighters to pull that off, but in all likelihood, they will be stored for next Canada Day."
Keegan said if the Chamber wanted to do it over the Queen City Cruise weekend, they'd more than welcome to do so.