Car enthusiasts, business owners gearing up for return of Downtown Summerside Classic Car Nights
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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — This summer season, Islanders and guests alike are anticipated to pack Water Road for the return of Downtown Summerside Traditional Automobile Nights.
Though the occasion remains to be just a few months away, Tanya Howatt and John MacKenzie of Borden-Carleton are desperate to park their 1966 Ford Econoline van subsequent to dozens of different old-school autos.
The van belonged to a household in Summerside earlier than MacKenzie’s father purchased the car.
“It sat there for years,” stated MacKenzie. “(My father) couldn’t repair it as a result of he took a stroke, so we purchased it and we mounted it up.”
Specifically, MacKenzie restored it, whereas Howatt took cost of portray.
Along with the van, they’re additionally the proud homeowners of two GMC vans – from 1977 and 1981 – which they took to the present earlier than buying the Econoline.
Final yr, each Friday they might Howatt and MacKenzie drove into town to participate in Traditional Automobile Nights.
MacKenzie stated loads of folks at all times took an curiosity of their autos, however he was not shocked.
“All people’s fascinated by all people’s autos,” he stated.
Their involvement with the occasion started one Friday evening after listening to about it in passing.
“We have been simply hooked after that,” stated MacKenzie. “It’s a free evening out and it’s an actual good time.”
Howatt agreed, including that the nights are an important alternative to reconnect with previous buddies and make new ones.
“We’ve a bunch of vanning people who got here throughout, too, from Amherst over in Nova Scotia, too,” stated Howatt. “They’re coming again once more this yr, too.”
Robert Gallant, organizer of Traditional Automobile Nights, can also be wanting ahead to the occasion’s return.
Specifically, he’s thrilled that the Metropolis of Summerside is permitting the present to stay on Water Road – with just a few minor changes. Just lately there have been some considerations expressed by some in the neighborhood that the occasion was disruptive and needs to be moved off Water Road, however these points have largely been sorted out and it’s scheduled to return to its traditional location.
“Downtown Summerside is why it’s profitable, due to the place it’s positioned. It’s historic downtown,” stated Gallant. “Previous automobiles and historic downtown go good collectively.”
In earlier years, the roads would shut at 4:30 p.m. forward of the occasion; this yr, the highway can be blocked off at 5 p.m. and actions will begin winding down at 9:30 p.m.
Gallant can also be trying to work with downtown companies this summer season. Specifically, he plans to coordinate with retailers on reward luggage to offer to attendees each weekend.
“We simply need to attempt to see if we are able to’t get the enterprise extra engaged,” stated Gallant. “Lots of people have been saying final yr that it might’ve been good to see shops keep open later.”
It’s not simply gearheads longing for the return of Automobile Nights, however some downtown enterprise homeowners, as effectively, see the advantage of holding the occasion of their space.
Josina Frizzell, proprietor of Classic, loves the quantity of foot site visitors the occasion brings.
“Having the automotive present nights down right here is the best factor that’s ever occurred for downtown Summerside,” she stated.
In her expertise, having the occasion draw folks downtown has elevated consciousness about companies within the space, each young and old.
“I had a person in right here the opposite evening,” stated Frizzell. “He informed me that he wouldn’t have identified I used to be right here if it hadn’t been for the automotive present nights final summer season.”
Classic, positioned on Water Road, is a retailer that sells classic collectibles and trinkets – from mugs to data to books. After attending just a few of the occasions herself in 2022, Frizzell is worked up so as to add some car-themed objects as effectively for event-goers to get pleasure from.
Already, the store has amassed a small assortment of fuzzy cube and previous license plates in preparation.
“Any car-related gadgets, we’re going to include huge time into the shop come this summer season.”
Traditional Automobile Nights runs each Friday in Downtown Summerside – climate relying – from June 30 to Sept. 1.
Kristin Gardiner is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. She might be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @KristinGardiner.