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Wisconsin Dells’ Automotion set to start Sept. 12 with precautions in place
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Wisconsin Dells’ Automotion set to start Sept. 12 with precautions in place

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One of the biggest events in Wisconsin Dells will go on as planned despite COVID-19 concerns.

The 34th annual Automotion Classic Car Show will take place Sept. 12-13 with a new location at the Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park parking lot. The two- day event usually takes place in May but the breaks were put on earlier this year due to COVID-19 concerns.

Jenifer Dobbs, managing director of festivals and events for the Dells Tourism Bureau, said the September dates were decided based on other events happening throughout the local and Midwest area.

“We wanted to do the show preseason or post season, not in the middle of the summer and not too late for the classic cars before they get covered and put away for the winter,” Dobbs said.

Despite rising cases of the virus around the state, Dobbs said there wasn’t any thought of halting Automotion because it’s an outdoor event where people can maintain a social distance.

“We have a large outdoor parking lot, there is no indoor spaces,” Dobbs said.

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Gates open at 7 a.m. Sept. 12. Dobbs said cars normally take until about 10 a.m. to line up and will be on display until 4 p.m. Sept. 12. Gates open again at 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 13. Other events scheduled this year include a swap meet and car corral. Registration is $10 in advance for those showing cars from 1989 and older and after Sept. 1 is $15 at gate. Free spectator parking is available at the Mt. Olympus parking lot.

Some events are not happening this year, like hands-on children’s activities, due to COVID-19, Dobbs said. Instead, goodie bags will be handed out to children. Hollywood on Broadway, where more than a dozen movie cars line the strip, is also cancelled due to lack of parking spaces on Cedar and Broadway Street with other events, like the farmers market, happening this year. Dobbs said Hollywood on Broadway will return to Automotion in May 2021.

Dobbs said several safety precautions will be in place. Spectators will walk only one way to view each car on display and each car will be spread out into one line rather than bumper to bumper. Hand washing and hand sanitizer stations will be set up. Signage will be placed to remind attendees to social distance. Vendors will take precautions serving food, she said.

Dobbs said in an Aug. 24 interview “a couple hundred” people have signed up to showcase their hot ride in this year’s event. She isn’t sure how many cars will show up this year because some might pre-register at the last minute, which is typically normal.

In 2016, Automotion attracted 1,200 classic cars. Dobbs estimated about 15,000 attended over the two days that same year. Dobbs isn’t sure how many cars and visitors will attend Automotion this year with the pandemic. Significant rain in recent years have also affected attendance.

For additional information, contact the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau: 608-254-8088 or visit wisdells.com/Automotion.htm or the Automotion Classic Car Facebook page.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.

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