Rod Run bad for business? Local merchants weigh in on first city-run car show

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.”

4 Responses to "Rod Run bad for business? Local merchants weigh in on first city-run car show"

  1. anon   March 15, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    How come there is no mention during the rod run news of cars being towed out of the parking lot of the strip mall north of the post office, while customers were in the premises shopping? Temecula needs to manage this event better.

  2. Dennis Byard   March 15, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Hello, My is Dennis Byard from North Tustin CA. I attended the Rod Run this year and my biggest complaint was getting into and leaving the event. I arrived Friday about 1:30 PM. I came in from Temecula Park Way and came up Front Street, they wouldn’t let me turn left onto any of the streets into the show area (traffic was a zoo bumper to bumper). I had my registration papers in hand, they didn’t care. I had to go all the way past the end of the show area (I guess that is the North end of Front Street) and continue down the street for a long ways to find a legal place to make a U turn. Thank goodness my little Chevy Coupe has a great cooling system and didn’t over heat, not all cars are that lucky. I could understand if I were in my daily driver and didn’t have the paper work. For the most part the City people were rude, didn’t make for a good environment. Overall I had a good time at the show my Friend Mike Adamson (67 Yellow Chevelle SS) a member of the Drifters had made arrangements for me to park with your Club, once again thank you very much it was great parking. My other complain was leaving the show there wasn’t any traffic control, making it very hard to make turns across traffic especially making left turns. At several intersections I seen Temecula Police Officers just standing around where they should have been directing traffic.
    My other big complaint was the award presentation I thought the announcer did a really poor job. He should have had the year make and model of the car getting the award rather than just the registration number. That brings up my last complain, I thought the awards (Rod Run license plates & frame) were in very poor taste. A car show with over 700 plus entries at $35.00 could afford to present a much better award. The show should have award categories such as best of show, best paint, best GM, Ford, Mopar and etc. I guess I have went on long enough, by the way I addressed all these complaints in the survey the City emailed to me.
    Thank You, for the opportunity to address my complaints.
    Dennis Byard

  3. Average resident   March 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    I always found it a little weird that it ended on Saturday and not Sunday. I don’t know when it stopped on Sunday but wish it would go back to that format so I would be able to go with my family. I tried taking my kids last year but there was not much for them to do and hearing they added some youth oriented activities I think they would’ve liked going this year. Maybe they can make Sunday a family sort of day and save the bounce houses and such for Sunday. I think its awesome they are trying to attract as many people as possible but having a limited schedule and varying audience I think they could change the format a little. I’ve lived in Temecula for over 15 years and have always loved the community and the way Temecula is ran so I am just offering something for conversation rather then criticizing the event overall. Just my opinion.

  4. Annette B   March 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I agree that they need to put the Merchants First and allow them to park near their business.

    I also think that the DJ was not one who knew how to play "ROD RUN MUSIC"! They should be mostly Oldies, which is what everyone is usually singing as they walk down the middle of the streets. That really sets the mood for the Old Cars!

    I also agree that the Announcing of the Awards was done very poorly and really should be addressed to a more positive way.

    Also the traffic situation leaving was kind of a "Jumbled Mess"! It needs to be fine tuned.

    This was Temecula’s first and for the most part, Did a Great Job, but maybe with the constructive Criticism and working together we can all help Fine Tune the event for the Next time! Maybe open up some meetings to put everyones heads together and ask for open suggestions.

    Thank you City of Temecula. 🙂


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