For the second straight year, the Hot Summer Nights Do-Wapp and Cruiz-In is having trouble finding sponsors, which may impact how well the event comes off.

Organizer Joe Gregor said so far, the event’s received pledges of only $850 out of a planned $10,000 budget.

In the past, the show, now in its 13th year, would have money to plan and promote the next show, including advertising, Gregor said.

But last year, they had very little money and thus could afford little advertising. Because of that, only 250 cars attended; usually, it would draw more than 700. “We try to get early advertising with carryover money,” he said. “Without having the funding last year, we didn’t have the early advertising.”

The car show is set for 4 to 10 p.m. June 24 in Diamond Park and a motorcycle show for the same hours June 25.

The show must pay for insurance, portable restrooms, T-shirts, trophies, dash plaques, disc jockey, advertising and fees to the city, Gregor said, and the cost can quickly add up.

Dash plaques, fireworks and other attractions were eliminated last year due to lack of sponsorships, and he doesn’t want that to happen again. When the cost of fireworks are added in, he said the total cost amounts to about $10,000. Last year, there were no fireworks.

He attributes the disinterest in sponsorships to a lackluster economy.

The show also receives donations and other material aid every year, but they really need cash, Gregor said. He’s applied for a grant with the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, but he’s not heard if it’s been awarded yet.

The first several years would draw crowds of 5,000 to 10,000. Last year, it was about 3,500, he said, lowered at least in part because there were no fireworks. “We need to get the fireworks back. The fireworks are a big plus for us. That draws the families.”

There is no charge to either car show participants or visitors. The event’s proceeds go to charity; the last few years they have gone toward Meadville-area yo-uth sports programs. Last year, the event donated $400 to Mea-dville Area Youth Basketball.

But sponsors are really what make the show successful. “Hopefully they can all get together and build this show up to what it used to be. There’s no reason it can’t be back to where it used to be.”

The car show began and spent several years on and around Mead Avenue before going to the Meadville Area Recreation Complex in 2003.

Splitting with Summerfest

The last two years were done in conjunction with Summerf-est, a three-day downtown event with food and craft vendors, local business involvement and live entertainment.

But this year, the pair will split, Gregor said.

He said holding the show on the same weekend as Summerfest almost became a competition for visitors, sponsors and space. “They’re moving further into the summer,” he said of Summerfest. “We have to keep our same date.” Because of the abundance of car shows, each show typically runs on the same weekend every year for the sake of coordination. “If we change the date, we’ll ruin participation,” he said.

Kim Flynn, chairwoman of the Summerfest 2006 committee, said the date was moved to allow the car show and Summerfest to have their own weekends. “We just didn’t want to muddy up what he’s doing as opposed to what the (Meadville-Western Crawford County Chamber of Commerce is) doing,” she said.

Summerfest is planned for July 21 to 23.

Tentatively, Summerfest is planned to kick off with a golf ball drop on July 21, and music, vendors and crafts will be featured each day, Flynn said. A portion of Chestnut Street is also planned to be closed again.

Tentatively, the fest will also include children’s inflatables and a kids’ carnival on July 22 and a pancake brunch in Diamond Park on July 23.

Gary Johnson can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at

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