The change of venue could be a blessing in disguise for the Capital City Cruise, the man in charge said.
Moving the event to Meridians Main Street this weekend should allow hundreds of hot rods, rat rods, muscle cars and antiques to avoid overheating a common occurrence as cars drove at low speeds and made frequent turns on the traditional Downtown Boise route, said Jack Armstrong, director of RPM! Productions.
Weve had cars get so hot that the radiator actually exploded, he said.
Whats known this year as the Main Street Cruise is the latest in a string of Downtown events to find a a new home. Promoters cited the need for enhanced amenities when they moved last weekends Boise Music Festival from Ann Morrison Park to Expo Idaho. Following a dispute between Boise and promoters, Meridian is slated to host the Barley Bros. Traveling Beer Show another traditional Ann Morrison guest in September.
But Boise officials say theyre not concerned that losing signature events this year will dent the citys reputation. Theresa McLeod, who chairs the citys special events team, pointed out that even though Downtown lost some events, the city also attracted new ones, including two days of this years Exergy Tour, a womens cycling race, over Memorial Day weekend.
A BOISE TRADITION
Capital City Cruise is affiliated with the two-day Northwest Motorfest. For the past seven years, Armstrong and his company, RPM! Productions, have held the cruise in Downtown Boise. This year, confusion between Armstrong and the city led to a scheduling conflict.
When Armstrong notified the city that he was planning the cruise for July 14, he discovered that the Twilight Criterium cycling race already was on Downtowns docket.
In a series of meetings this spring, Armstrong worked with various city and county organizations to reach an alternative. Proposals included relocating the cruise to a different section of Downtown and rescheduling the cruise for Friday, late Saturday or Sunday.
Ultimately, no one option satisfied all of the parties.
Karen Sander, executive director of the Downtown Boise Association, said it was not a case of the city discriminating against motors in favor of bicycles.
We have had a good working relationship with Jack Armstrong, to the point of recruiting him to manage the Downtown Fathers Day Car Show, and assisted him in getting the Capital Car Cruise started in the initial years, Sander said in an email.
Armstrong declined to comment on whether he believes Boise is treating his event unfairly, though his announcement on RPMs website hinted at frustration.
Under the circumstances that were presented to us, (the move) is a perfect fix to an unnecessary and an uncalled-for problem, he wrote. But perhaps this is something we should have done a long time ago!
A MERIDIAN WELCOME
As the Armstrong-Boise miscommunication unfolded, Meridian stepped into the mix.
Meridian has wrapped their arms around us, Armstrong said.
In addition to Main Street, cars in the cruise will periodically entertain the crowd at the Meridian Speedway during breaks in Saturdays races.
For people in Meridian, the challenge is planning for an event that Armstrong expects to draw a crowd of 20,000. But the city has a chance to position itself as a legitimate host for events of this magnitude.
It has a payoff in terms of introducing our community to folks that maybe havent had a compelling reason to come over, said Shelly Houston, Meridians community programs coordinator. From an economic development standpoint, we think its great that folks will be paying us a visit.
The staff at Meridians Busted Shovel Bar & Grill believes the cruise and crowds will translate into a big-money day.
If the cruise, which will pass directly in front of the Busted Shovel, boosts daytime business and foments a late-night party, you wont hear kitchen manager Jaysen Boucher complaining.
Thats what were hoping for, he said.
Despite the confusion that changed the Capital City Cruise to the Main Street Cruise, Armstrong said he harbors no hard feelings.
Another advantage of hashing over plans for the event was Armstrongs discovery of new potential Boise cruise routes for years to come. He said he plans to return the cruise to Boise next year with a new, cool-engine footprint.
In the end, he said, the sight of hot rods rumbling in front of the Capitol is just too cool to miss.
Sven Berg: 377-6275