Street rod car show should bring millions of dollars to Knoxville economy


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Around 11,000 people are expected in Knoxville this weekend for the 38th annual National Street Rod Association car show. The event draws people from around the country, meaning a big boost to the local economy.

Hot rods were lined up for more than a mile Friday morning to get into Chilhowee Park and Expo Center for the big show. Bruce Romines got in line at 3:00 in the morning.

“We have a certain place we like to be at and we know if we get there, we can get there and most of the time get it,” Romines said.

Romines is from Knoxville, but organizer Jim Rowlett says the Nationals South Plus Event “is like a family reunion with cars. There are people from all over the country that come here, mostly from the Southeast but we do have a couple from Canada that’s here.”

Around 3,000 street rods, muscle cars and specialty vehicles will be on display.

Susie Pierce and her husband drove their hot road 805 miles from Alva, Florida to attend the show. They’ve been traveling across the country showing off their classic pickup truck for 26 years.

“We have fun, myself and my husband. He loves it, too,” Pierce said.

The Pierces are staying in town until after the car show Sunday evening. They say between eating, shopping and lodging they’ll spend more than $1,000 in Knoxville.

“The economic impact for Knoxville, if you look at it from a hotel, motel standpoint, restaurants all that probably around $12 million,” Rowlett said.

More than $72,000 worth of prizes will be given away at the car show, and trophies are awarded for the best hot rod.

But for many participants, it’s not about winning. “It’s just to go see cars that you’ve never seen before, the variety of cars,” Pierce said.

“We just come to see the people and show the car and look at the cars, too,” Romines said.

The hot rods will be at Chilhowee Park until Sunday afternoon. People can still register their classic car into the show.

Saturday the show is open from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Adult tickets are $14. Tickets are $5 for children age 6 to 12.

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