The Hot July Nights Car Show in 100 Mile House has been stalled for the second year in a row.
Donna Barnett, chair of the Hot July Nights Society, said the committee decided to cancel the annual event – slated for July 16-18 – because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Barnett noted she had reached out to the province on Feb. 25 through letters, emails and the Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA about whether public health orders would be lifted but got no response.
Although the cars could be parked six metres away, there was no way to prevent the crowds.
“The writing is on the wall. By not getting an answer I don’t see how we can move forward,” Barnett said. “Due to the increasing cases and cancellations of rodeos and other public events, the committee believes the event will not get the blessing from government.”
Rather than organizing the event and having it shut down, the committee decided to “park” the event until 2022. This year’s event had been planned for Birch Avenue in 100 Mile House.
Jim Williscroft, past president of the 100 Mile House Cruzers Car Club, said they didn’t want to see a repeat of last year when they had the event ready to go and it was stopped at the last minute. The event requires a lot of organization, including not only the car show but poker runs and other events, but a banquet and dance.
“We did that last year and it hurt. We had everything in place, all set to go and then ‘no,’” Williscroft said. “We don’t have control over this at all. We have to go with what’s said to us. We have to go with safety. People aren’t going to come up from the coast. It’s just too soon.”
Both he and Barnett said the cancellation will be a big hit for the business community, which are huge sponsors of the event. About 200 classic and collector cars from across B.C. participate in the Hot July Nights event, bringing in close to $2 million, Barnett said. Many participants will often stay for a week, staying at hotels and eating at local restaurants, as well as golfing and fishing in the area.
“It’s sad because this is such an income-generator in the community,” Barnett said.
Added Williscroft, “At this point, I don’t think there’s much we can do. This is really going to hurt this town.”
On behalf of the committee, Barnett thanked the members of Hot July Nights for all their hard work over the past year as well as the sponsors, media and community as a whole.
“Without everyone’s hard work and support, events like this would never happen,” she said. “We know that this will be very hard on the small businesses that benefit from this event and the disappointment of our car buffs across the province and from other provinces and some from the U.S.A. We look forward to hopefully in 2022 making the Hot July Nights Car Show even bigger and better.”
This story has been updated to include comments from the 100 Mile House Cruzers Car Club.