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Hot Summer Nites
Every year for the past 19 years, Corvette and other motor enthusiasts gather in downtown Sioux Falls in July to share stories and their cars. Hot Summer Nites is the longest running car show in the area and is enjoyed by people of all ages brought together by their love of cars and rock n’ roll. The event is always held on Wednesday night as a kickoff prior to the Black Hills Corvette Classic Rally in Spearfish. This year’s event will be held July 17 beginning at 6:00 p.m. and concludes at 10:30 p.m. You will find hundreds of Corvettes from all over the United States on Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls. The event occupies the streets of Phillips Ave. and Main Ave. from 9th St. to 14th St. Average attendance for the event is 7,000 people.
The annual event is free to attend and was the brainchild of former Main Street Sioux Falls coordinator, Carole Pagones. At the time when Carole was there, the downtown organization was called Main Street Sioux Falls.
When asked to comment on the event, former Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. (DTSF) President, Dan Statema, said, “By the time I got Downtown, Carole (Pagones) had it down to a well-oiled machine. It was already in its 11th year when I took over. It was a good stopover point for people heading to the Black Hills for the Corvette Rally. The event attracted not only local Corvette and other car enthusiasts, but also Corvette enthusiasts from across the United States. I felt this was great exposure for our downtown area. As the event gained in popularity, there were people that came to Sioux Falls for this event that did not travel on to the Black Hills.”
Statema accepted the Downtown position on the day of Hot Summer Nites in 2004. “My first experience was very overwhelming,” Statema said. “It was a much larger party than I had anticipated: lots of people and lots of cars. Corvettes are a timeless tradition car that many generations appreciate. The crowd is an eclectic mix of car enthusiasts and others. Local and out of town individuals and families enjoy coming to this event year after year. We usually had good luck with the weather through the years. I can only remember a couple of years when we had some sprinkles.”
“DTSF membership benefits from the event in a number of ways,” Statema added. “Most of the members view the event as positive for the downtown area. The event is definitely good for bars and restaurants, but I feel the event is very good for downtown in general because it brings people downtown, some of whom may not have taken the opportunity to visit downtown before.”
Current Downtown Sioux Falls President, Jason Dennison, adds, “This is one of our most successful and well attended events we host throughout the year. This event has helped increase the awareness of our downtown community as a great destination and allows visitors to see all that downtown has to offer from shopping, professional services, culture, art, recreation and dining opportunities.”
A motorcycle parade gets the festivities started, driving through the downtown area after a start from J&L Harley-Davidson. Food and beverage vendors along with product vendors line the streets of downtown Sioux Falls for the event. Product vendors include Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. selling the newest t-shirt design for the event. The t-shirts are very popular, and many people collect them every year.
What would a car show be without rock n’ roll music? Again this year, The Rumbles will be performing on stage, located at Main Ave. and 11th St. The Rumbles have performed at this event for 12 nonconsecutive years, but this will be their last year as they are retiring as a band. Oryx, a local band made up of area high school musicians, will perform near the Phillips Avenue Diner, just north of 11th St. on Phillips Avenue. Radio station owner, John Small, referred the band to DTSF after he heard them perform recently. They play mostly 70’s - 90’s rock music but also play some original music. They will be performing in the Plaza by 12th St. and Phillips Ave. next to the Diner. To learn more about the band go to www.Oryxtheband.com.
To celebrate the 20th annual Hot Summer Nites event, you can register to win packages from Grand Falls Casino. Sign up to win at their booth during the event.
Grand Prize Live It Up! Package:
• One night in a Deluxe King or Double Queen Room*
• $100 to The Spa at Grand Falls
• $100 in free slot play
• $100 to Ruthie’s Steakhouse
• 2 tickets to the Grand Funk Railroad & WAR concert, August 24th
*Blackout dates apply, based on availability
• 2 tickets to the Grand Funk Railroad & WAR concert, August 24th
Hot Summer Nites is the event where DTSF first incorporated recycling, and the program has continued to evolve over the years. “A few years ago a group called Trash Talkers started the recycling program and today the organization works with a group called the Ecomaniacs” according to Maureen Ohm, Event Director of Downtown Sioux Falls (DTSF). “They get volunteer groups to help them keep the streets clean and make sure the patrons recycle.”
Last year the Budweiser Clydesdales made an appearance at the event. DTSF worked with Beal Distributing to coordinate the appearance. Cooperation with many local companies is critical to the success of the event. DTSF works closely with Beal and other companies to make improvements to the event every year.
DTSF is a non-profit organization with a goal of keeping downtown vital. They have approximately 300 members with an emphasis on the beautification and economic development of Downtown as well as events and assistance to members to help them grow their business. Jason Dennison works with prospective businesses to encourage relocation to Downtown. DTSF coordinates events and works with Downtown merchants to beautify and bring more people and shoppers Downtown. They provide networking and collaboration opportunities for their members as well as educational opportunities. This includes marketing resources and social media promotion. DTSF has an active Facebook page with over 6,000 followers.
DTSF works as a liaison with the city on numerous events and issues. They work closely with the police department as well. The Hot Summer Nites event is important to DTSF and its members because it is a great reminder to everyone that comes downtown for the event why downtown is a great place to do business. TMM