DU QUOIN — “Motorheads” will start their engines and head to Du Quoin for the return of the Street Machine Nationals this summer.
Sponsored by Car Craft Magazine and producer Family Events, the event from June 28 to 30, is expected to draw about 10,000 car enthusiasts and have an economic impact of $3 million to $4 million in its first year back at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.
The super-sized car show features high-performance street machines, hot rods and street trucks, a performance marketplace for aftermarket parts, demonstrations, and fan-favorites like burnout and dyno challenges.
“It’s a big, big deal,” fair manager John Rednour Jr. said Tuesday. “With 1,435 acres of rolling hills and grass, about 20 miles of roads and all the other amenities, the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds is made for this type of event.”
The three-day event marks the 30th anniversary of the Street Machine Nationals and a return of the show, after a 14-year hiatus, to Du Quoin.
The event was held in the Perry County city for 13 years, the last time in 1998, and frequently drew the ire of residents who complained of drunkenness, public urination and other undesirable behavior by those in attendance.
Family Events spokesman Matthew Louck said those sorts of problems won’t be an issue this year.
“We have a professional staff and produce 35 events a year that are large in size and scope. This is a family event and people know what we will tolerate,” he said.
Interest in the event is already high, Rednour said.
“Our phones have been ringing off the hook. People want to know about the campgrounds, hotels. We’re expecting at least 10,000 the first year and that’s going to be great for Du Quoin and the surrounding area,” he said.
Louck and Rednour signed the contract for the event before a crowd of local car enthusiasts gathered at the fairgrounds Tuesday.
One of those enthusiasts, Paul Roach, who owns a 1961 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88, is equally enthusiastic about the event’s return to Du Quoin.
“I never missed it when it was here before,” Roach, a member of Southern Counties Autos Unlimited car club, said. “I’m a gearhead kind of guy. Any car event draws my attention and this is one of the best. It’s a family event and draws the kind of crowd where you could leave your wallet on the dashboard of your car and not worry about it.”
State Sen. Gary Forby said the return of the Street Machine Nationals will be a boost to the area’s economy.
“It’s great to see it return. This will help tourism and bring jobs to the area,” he said.
On Twitter: @beckymalkovich