“We know many people were disappointed by the cancellations, but ultimately we need to make sure everyone in the city is safe,” Mayor Terry Furlong said. “We applaud everyone who vacated the area immediately.”
Officials apologized for the short notice, but reiterated that closing the program was in the best interest of the community.
The car show, which ran from July to September, canceled its shows on 27 August and 3 September due to rain.
Fabio said this week was different. The mayor and police chief asked their board to close it because of a significant threat. They were concerned about property damage and injuries.
“We kindly ask you,” said Fabio, referring to the officers, “but if you say no it will be a police order.”
5 Eyewitness News asked North St Paul Police about the nature of the threat but no response yet.
This year marks the 27th anniversary of the history cruiser car show, which returned last summer after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The constant cancellations have been a hit to the finances and morale of the nonprofit and the 60-something volunteers who show up every Friday. The show regularly draws 1,000 cars and 10,000 visitors. By reducing the cost of each car to $25,000, damage from a hazard could have been significant and costly.
“We had to do this to keep people safe,” said Fabio, who with his wife founded the car show and associated non-profit organization.
It costs about $20,000 in the summer to run the show. While the show itself is free, all proceeds from shirt sales are donated back to the city, Veterans Memorial Park, food shelves and other charities. Good cars do good karma, and the weekly event, featuring “every State Fair food you shouldn’t eat,” Fabio said, is beloved by the community for its street sticks, live music, and multi-generational draws.
“It’s a wonderful thing to go out there and see three to four generations walking together … bond,” Fabio said. “It’s an equal playing field.”
But nonprofits aren’t the only group affected by the cancellation. Apart from the public, live musicians and vendors are also saddened to miss the show.
In the 50s and 60s – and sometimes even the 70s – rock-and-roll cover band TC Cats were “badass” according to a Facebook post, but they are “looking forward to watching”. [everyone] next summer.”
Agrol Queen Cafe, a food truck vendor and local eatery, took to social media to express grief about missing the show.
Thanks to social media magic, they sold out that evening at their brick-and-mortar location.
If rain and safety concerns subside, there are two more car shows left this season on September 17 and 24.
Whether agarols, vintage hot rods, live music or kids perfecting hand jive suits your fancy, Fabio says you’ll find something to love at a car show.
“You have to sit down and smile when you see it,” said Fabio.