The nature of nature and special events


Hot August Nights ranks second only to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off among special events in drawing visitors to the city. About 250,000 visitors are expected to visit Sparks during the weeklong classic car event.

Hot August Nights ranks second only to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off among special events in drawing visitors to the city. About 250,000 visitors are expected to visit Sparks during the week-long classic car event.

An estimated 250,000 people attend Hot August Nights every year just in Sparks alone, that does not count the other area events and attendance.  Of course, a significant percentage of those attending live locally, but outsiders fill all of the hotel rooms within driving distance of the area and number in the tens of thousands.  For Reno-Sparks 250, 000 is a huge number.; that is nearly equal to the entire population of the area.  To put that in perspective an event of equal magnitude in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York City would have to draw millions of people.  In attendance related to the local population that would rank Hot August Nights with any of the major religious festivals in the world.  Maybe that is where it belongs, not as a commercial festival, but a religious one; car lovers worshiping the car fantasies of their youth.

And regardless of what I said in my previous post, that may in fact be not only an accurate description of the event, but also its limitations.  Every year the enthusiasts get older and every year their passions get farther and farther removed from the mainstream of popular culture and from younger generations. The end may come, not because of Long Beach, management or a lack of attention to the mission, but simply because the cars and their lovers are dead or too old to travel any longer. They are 24 years older today than at the first Hot August Night’s celebration.  Twenty or thirty years ago World War II reunions were also major events, bringing together sometimes thousands of men, their spouses, children and grandchildren; men who had served, fought and suffered together in war. Today they no longer gather, at least not above ground or in physical bodies.  Damn, that was depressing.  But it is also a warning to business and marketing leaders, it is time to be building new events to replace the ones that will in time die as all things must die in time.

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