Classic cars will take over the Dells this weekend as the 32nd annual Automotion kicks off this Saturday, May 19.
The two-day family-friendly event features more than 1,200 classic cars from across the state and from as far away as New York and California.
The event is expected to attract between 50,000 and 100,000 spectators, depending on the weather, said Jenifer Dobbs, the Festival and Events Manager for Wisconsin Dells Festivals, Inc.
The classic car show is held at Noah’s Ark, but spectators can park their cars for free at the Tommy Bartlett Show parking lot, and then, ride an Original Wisconsin Duck to the event. The Duck will shuttle back-and-forth between Noah’s Ark and Tommy Bartlett all-day-long.
Automotion runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, and spectator entrance is free.
Afterwards, there is a classic car parade in downtown Dells called “Hollywood on Broadway” which will showcase replicas of famous Hollywood cars, such as: the Pontiac Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit, Ecto 1 from Ghostbusters, the deLorean “time machine” from Back to the Future and a Jeep from Jurassic Park, Dobbs said.
In the past, replicas of Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars were rented for the parade, but they won’t be here this year, Dobbs said. Former late-night talk-show host Jay Leno, a well-known car enthusiast, also attended the event last year, but will not attend this year, said Dobbs.
However, Jim and Mike Ring, custom car builders and co-founders of the Ringbrothers, are scheduled to attend, Dobbs said. Also, the Meltdown Drags, replicas of vintage drag-racing vehicles, are scheduled to attend, said Dobbs. In addition, Wisconsin Hot Rod Radio featuring Captn’ Bob and Arlo, based out of Milwaukee, are scheduled to emcee, Dobbs said.
Despite all the fun activities scheduled, one event expected to cause headaches is traffic.
“Hopefully, people will realize that when you bring this many people into a community, there will be traffic delays,” Dobbs said, noting that the community is currently at full capacity. “Traffic will be an issue for people; so hopefully, people plan accordingly and take their time and are safe.”
Lieutenant Perry Mayer of the Wisconsin Dells Police Department also reiterated safety precautions this weekend.
“Everybody needs to obey traffic laws. It’s tempting to look and watch what’s going on, but pay attention to your driving. Watch for pedestrians,” Mayer said.
He also stressed the importance of using seatbelts, slowing down in construction zones, patience, following rules and obeying traffic laws, noting that it’s illegal to ride in the back of truck beds.
All police officers from the Dells Police Department are scheduled to work extended shifts this weekend, Mayer said. In addition, outside law enforcement agencies have also been contracted to assist for the weekend from Lake Delton, Beaver Dam, Lodi, Portage and Adams County, Mayer said. Emergency services will also be on-hand to assist guests, if needed, said Hobbs.
Despite that event organizers are prepared for unexpected emergencies, they are optimistic that Automotion will be a successful event this year.
“Automotion is a nice family event where, even if you’re not a car lover, you will enjoy yourself,” Hobbs said.