Hot rods will be coming to Summerland this spring for a new event.
Apple Valley Cruisers got a thumbs up from Summerland council Monday to host a Spring Fling Car Show during the May long weekend in Memorial Park and surrounding roads, similar to their Endless Summer Show & Shine held annually in September.
The Spring Fling on May 21 will coincide with Peachland's annual World of Wheels the next day, which brings in more than 550 cars, trucks, motorcycles, antique boats and over 10,000 people in a typical year — a potential boon to the local economy.
But staff had concerns about the damage to Memorial Park should vehicles be allowed on it in the spring, stating the turf and irrigation system "will be much more prone to long-term damage to the root system and potential for permanent ruining" so early in the growing season, along with concerns about tree root systems.
The September Show & Shine event in 2021 was previously approved by council, with special caveats restricting cars from parking in certain higher-risk areas for root damage, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Staff suggested the Spring Fling could work with similar restrictions, or they could work with Apple Valley to consider other hard-surface locations for the event in Summerland.
Apple Valley president Jacques Lefebvre made the case for the spring event at Monday afternoon's council meeting, touting the many local charitable contributions the car club makes every year, including bursaries for young people in the community looking at a career in the automotive industry.
"We would not park any cars in the centre hub where all those big trees are. That's where we would set up a couple small tents and sell our T-shirts. We have Girl Guides come, and they sell apple pie with ice cream. All the money they make is theirs," Lefebrve said.
"We don't take a dime from them. The Kiwanis comes in and does a breakfast, pancakes and sausage and bacon. All the money they make is theirs. And then [in 2019] we had the Air Cadets do the hamburgers at the lunchtime."
He said that Memorial Park is ideal rather than doing the show on Main Street, which has limited space. Many participants do not register ahead, waiting instead to check the weather. Lefebrve estimated 280 cars attended in 2019 at Memorial Park and they still had room for more.
"If we park on Main Street then where are all the visitors, the people that come to see the show, where are they going to park? There's nowhere else to park for them. And we're asked to rent the parking lots of the high school and rent the parking lot of the swimming pool ... Now we're taking money away from the charities that we want to donate to."
Coun. Marty Van Alphen agreed the park was the best place to house the event, citing concerns from downtown businesses who would not want Main Street parking tied up by the car show.
"So this way is kind of best of both worlds. If the car show's in the park, people can still go downtown and park and shop and stuff. So it's kind of a win-win for everybody in my opinion," Van Alphen said.
Council voted unanimously to allow the event to take place in Memorial Park, with the amendment that district staff be directed to work with the organizers to assist with potential road closures and parking lot bookings to ensure capacity in the park is not surpassed to the detriment of the trees and grass.