Biggest event in the West Kootenay set to touch down Friday as Road Kings Queen’s City Cruise comes to Nelson
The calendar on the wall says September.
Which means the Nelson Road Kings Queen’s City Cruise is ready to kick off one of the biggest weekends of the year for the Heritage City.
Next to Shambhala, the Nelson Road Kings Queen’s City Cruise car show is quite possibly the most economically impactful weekends for the city of Nelson, with restaurants, hotels and shops preparing for the horde of tourists and car aficionados looking for places to spend some cash.
“To my knowledge, besides Shambhala it’s probably the biggest event in the West Kootenays,” said Jack Chambers, President of the Road Kings Club.
“Between Friday night and Saturday evening we probably bring 9-10,000 people into town.”
Chambers cites the massive distance some attendees are willing to travel just to attend, and said that people from as far as Arizona make their way to our little city on the lake to join the fun and show off their rides.
“We’ve had cars from Saskatoon show up, Arizona, and there’s a group coming from Montana bringing 40 vehicles. The Northwest Pantera club that are stationed in Spokane they’re bringing about a dozen or more Panteras which is an exotic car.”
What’s important to remember is that many of these groups aren’t just showing up for the parade and then driving home. When you’re driving all the way up the West Coast of North America you usually plan on staying a few nights.
The hotels and motels in Nelson see a huge upswing in business as car buffs fill the rooms for as many as four days.
“There was a group last year from Kamloops, eight cars, two people per car,” Chambers told The Nelson Daily.
“So they came in and stayed from Thursday night to Monday night. That would be eight hotel rooms at ballpark $150 a night plus all their meals and whatever else they bought shopping wise.”
Chambers estimates that the Queen’s City Cruise brings in about a $1 million in revenue for the town, which eventually finds its way back into the community.
“You can’t bring that many people into the downtown core, the restaurants, the hotels, all the establishments downtown are all benefiting. If that’s all staying in town it will get re-circulated through the town. We like to think that we’re a big economic driver,” he said.
Tom Thomson, executive director for the Nelson Chamber of Commerce, echoes those statements and said that while the event only runs for one weekend, it does help to put Nelson on the map and garner attention for the city.
“When you get the number of people coming in from the Pacific Northwest to come and show their cars, it’s tremendous because you get the majority of the hotel rooms are filled with people coming in from that region and that’s positive for our local economy,” Thomson said.
“Obviously not just for the hotels but the food and beverage industry and also some retail spinoff too so it raises awareness of the region and Nelson specifically and certainly beneficial from an economic perspective.”
Thomson also brings up the timing as a crucial factor for a much needed economic boost.
“The best part about events that are going on in so called shoulder seasons (September-October) and sometimes in the spring, that’s really the goal is to try and grow those seasons as well. This is a really nice send off to end the summer essentially and it’s really positive for our community.”
Nelson Mayor Deb Kozak re-iterated Thomson’s statements and added that the 280 entrants into the event spend around $240 per day on food and lodgings, on top of the added influx of business received by the various shops and stores on Baker Street.
“I do think that although people are mainly here for the cruise event and they are looking at cars, I think that there’s people that do stop into our stores on Baker St. and check those out as well. All those businesses benefit greatly from that influx of people,” Kozak told The Nelson Daily.
The 14th annual Nelson Road Kings Queen’s City Cruise begins Friday (September 9th) at the Nelson Chamber of Commerce in the Railtown district.
The always-popular parade, beginning at 6 p.m., follows registration Friday, with the Show and Shine on Baker Street and poker run set for Saturday.
Saturday night is the Bar Hop.
For complete information check out the Road Kings website.