Mt. Vernon Register-News

June 8, 2013

Impact of Street Machines uncertain

By TESA GLASS
tesa.glass@register-news.com

---- — MT. VERNON — The Street Machine Nationals are returning to Du Quoin, but officials are wondering if the impact to the King City will return as well."It would be great if it is like what it used to be," said Tourism Director Bonnie Jerdon. "It had a good financial impact on Mt. Vernon, and if it continues to be held in Du Quoin, it could build back up to that."The Street Machine Nationals will be held at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds June 28 through June 20. The last time the fairgrounds hosted the event was 1998, and the first time was in 1985."The show is made up of spectators, vendors, sponsors and participants (hot rod, street machine and street truck enthusiasts) that come to display their (vehicle) for the weekend and compete in the racing events, judged awards, activities and meet people," information on the show states. "The shows are part of Family Events, owned by The Promotion Company of Indianapolis, Ind."The event is co-sponsored by Car Craft Magazine"The Street Machine Nationals will draw thousands to the community spending tourism dollars in restaurants, for lodging and shopping at local retailers," a press release from Car Craft and Family Events states. "The economic impact from both the participants and spectators at the event is significant for tourism in the county."Not just in Du Quoin, but also Mt. Vernon."We are waiting to see how the hotels are doing on booked room nights," Jerdon said. "Visitors notoriously wait until the last minute to book rooms."Jerdon said room nights — as well as the economic impact — will be shared between Mt. Vernon, Marion and even the Metro-East area.During it original run, the Street Machine Nationals brought in more than 3,500 vehicles, according to Du Quoin State Fair Manager John Rednour, Jr. He has stated he believes this year will bring about 1,200 entries and 8,000 participants. Mt. Vernon Police Chief Chris Mendenall said he is also waiting to find out the number of guests which will be staying in the city before deciding on how many extra patrols to schedule."We will evaluate ... and check with the hotels next week and then in a couple of weeks," Mendenall said. "That's when we will start making plans for extra patrols and beef up the night shifts. We concentrate on the night shift because during the daytime, people will be in Du Quoin. The high volume of traffic on the west side of town would be in the evenings."The event is being held in Du Quoin under a one year contract.