Parking was scarce and sidewalks were packed as thousands of people shuffled in and out of Old Town Temecula to look at the wide variety of classic cars that made up this year’s Rod Run.
The event looked just like it did in years past with a number of different vendors selling food items and car-themed items. The smell of nachos, hot dogs and funnel cakes filled the air as tunes from earlier decades blared over speakers.
But this year’s event wasn’t quite the same because of a few key changes put in place by the City of Temecula, which took over the Rod Run for the first time this year.
A kid’s fun area was incorporated into the event with bounce houses and derby raises among a number of other activities geared toward youth.
And parking in the parking garage at City Hall was limited only to merchants and city officials, leaving visitors to the event to find parking at one of several locations in the vicinity of the front street drag.
It was the latter of the two changes that had people like Cory Montgomery somewhat irked.
Montgomery, owner of Old Town Temecula Root Beer Company, said she didn’t like the city’s decision to have city employees and merchants park in the parking garage.
She said she was required to park in the garage rather than her own lot, which made things difficult on her and her disabled husband because they were further away from their store.
The merchant said she was also surprised when cars and booths started setting up outside her store at 9:30 a.m. rather than their normal time of 2 or 3 p.m. because she still had things to do and wasn’t ready for their arrival.
“I just think there needs to be better communication with the merchants,” Montgomery said. “Because we’ve been here a long time and so have these other people.”
Montgomery said that she’d like to see changes in parking and communication, but that she’d also like to see a change in the way the event is structured.
Currently the event is spread out over Friday night and the rest of Saturday, but it wasn’t always this way. In previous years the Rod Run would last through Sunday and that’s something Montgomery said she and other merchants would like to see come back because they believe it would bring more
Sid Hamilton, owner of Mad Madeline’s grill, said he agrees with Montgomery’s position.
He implemented a sign-up sheet where members of the public could sign their names if they thought the Rod Run should revert back to its three day format.
“We’re trying to show the city and show the event coordinators that people (who) are here are signing and would like to see a Sunday show,” Hamilton said. “It’s not like a petition but we’re pretty much trying to say, ‘Hey, these are your Temeculan people and here’s what they think.'”
Montgomery also implemented a sign-up sheet and said she hopes the city will take what she and others have suggested under advisement.
“And I’m not being critical of the city because this is their first year doing it,” she said. “I just think these are some things they need to bear in mind for next year.”
While some complained over the parking situation and the way the event was structured, others said they didn’t notice.
Area resident Hannah Frazee said she didn’t know about the parking restrictions and that she didn’t mind parking.
“We actually didn’t even notice,” Frazee said. “We parked and walked over from Haberdashery and it wasn’t too much of a walk.”
Ray Andresen, another spectator at the event, said he’s been going to see cars at the show for the past 14 years. He said he’s seen the event evolve over that time and take on a number of different changes and that the changes the city has made since taking over don’t bother
“I think it’s running smoothly,” Andresen said. “It’s safe and it’s nice.”