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Street Rod Nationals Returns To Louisville

Cars line a road in the Paristown neighborhood as the The Annual Street Rod Nationals comes to town.
Cars line a road in the Paristown neighborhood as the The Annual Street Rod Nationals comes to town.

Hot rods in all colors, makes and models lined the streets near Christy’s Garden in the Paristown neighborhood Wednesday.

The cars are in town for the annual Street Rod Nationals. Louisville has hosted the event for 24 consecutive years; the city has hosted a total 27 of the 52 nationals.

As in years past, the Kentucky Exposition Center is the venue. Both inside and outside of the expo center, cars and vendors will be on display for folks to enjoy. 

“Once you get inside, over and beyond the 10,000 cars that are outside, the entire expo center inside is filled with commercial exhibits. There are over 350 manufacturers and dealers,” said Jerry Kennedy with the National Street Rod Association.

The long history of the event has made it a staple in the city. 

“For those of us who have been here for many years, we recognize what the first week of August is; that’s street rod season in Louisville, Kentucky,” said David Beck, CEO of Kentucky Venues.

Along with displays, vendors and manufacturers, the nationals will host a series of competitions and giveaways. 

The raffle grand prize is a 1932 Ford Roadster pickup that will be announced on Saturday.

This year visitors can ride copilot in a timed outdoor racing course. Street rod drivers will give riders a taste, however brief, of that hot rod life. 

“I can guarantee you that if you jump in one of these cars that ride through this course, it’s gonna be the quickest 32 seconds you’ve ever been in,” Kennedy said.

The annual Street Rod Nationals event was held last year, despite the pandemic, but on a much smaller scale than previous years.

Even though the show this year is once again smaller than in the past, officials from Louisville Tourism expect that the nationals will bring $11.5 in economic impact to the city. 

With COVID-19 numbers back on the rise, regulations to keep people safe from last year’s event have carried over to this year.

Masks will be required for everyone inside the expo center, while attendees outside will have the option to wear masks or not. 

The Street Rod Nationals runs through Aug. 8 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. 

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.