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Automania fever!
Brandon gearing up for event that will bring thousands to city Friday
By By Alica P. Thiele
Challenger reporter

June 27. 2013 9:20AM
Deb Wirtjes has scheduled her whole staff, plus some volunteers, to work on Friday when Automania rolls into Brandon. The owner of The Perfect Cup coffee and wine shop said she is bumping up her supplies and will be open much later than her regular 5 p.m. closing time.

“We’ll be open at least until 11 p.m., and if there’s still people coming through the door, I’ll stay open,” she said.

Businesses on Holly Boulevard from Splitrock to Sioux boulevards are planning for thousands of customers as the annual car show makes its first visit to Brandon. The show’s organizer, Bill Nelson, has said that with 50,000 people typically attending, the show has outgrown its former downtown Sioux Falls site.

Planning with Nelson has gone smoothly, Brandon City Administrator Bryan Read said. And although city workers will help with set up, “Automania has their own set up and clean up crews,” Read said. City workers will move picnic tables from most of the city parks over to Holly Boulevard for the day, he said.

The city will provide a shuttle service between Holly Boulevard and various parking sites. “We’ll try to come up with a little route,” he said.

There will be parking at McHardy Park, and Read said parking also will be available at Huset’s.

Dave Pappone, Brandon Valley School District superintendent, said parking will be available at Brandon Valley High School. The high school north parking lot will have areas set aside for ADA parking and motorcycle parking.

“The organizers filed a facility use request just like anybody,” he said. “The buildings will not be open and accessible during that time.” Because the request was for grounds only, and not buildings, there was no charge, Pappone said.

The school district has a policy against alcohol and tobacco use on school grounds, so no food vendors will be set up on school property, although automotive sponsor displays and product vendors will have booths on Holly Boulevard on the grounds of Brandon Elementary, Brandon Valley Middle School and the high school, as well as along the mile-long stretch of Holly Boulevard for the expected 1,000 muscle cars, hot rods, sport cars, classics and motorcycles.

More than 60 food and product vendors will be set up for business.

Kim Cerwick, Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said residents will start seeing setup on Thursday “in the form of porta-potties being delivered, etcetera.” Holly Boulevard will be open through Thursday night. Even though Holly will be closed most of the day Friday, there will be access detours to all businesses along that road, Cerwick said.

“If you plan on visiting a business on that road on Friday, it may be helpful to call ahead and ask that business the best way to get to their establishment,” she said.
A map of the Automania setting shows that all side roads accessing Holly Boulevard will be barricaded during the event. Cars and vendors will enter Holly from the west.

The main stage for entertainment will be set up on the west Brandon Lutheran Church grounds, and vendors will set up in the church’s east parking lot. An east stage will be set up in the Sunshine Food parking lot, near Taco John’s.

The site map shows an inflatable play area on the north Brandon Elementary green area.

Folks who want to meet and greet Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman from the Discovery Channel show “Fast N’ Loud” will find them in a green area at the intersection of Holly Boulevard and Maple Avenue from 5 to 9 p.m.

Byron Cherry, better known as Coy Duke of the TV show “Dukes of Hazzard,” will be at the southeast corner of the intersection of Holly Boulevard and Fifth Avenue, according to the Automania site map.

Brandon Police Chief Dave Kull said his department will have officers specifically assigned to the event area in addition to the standard deployment covering the town.
“In addition to our staff, we should have a number of police reserve officers from Minnehaha County Emergency Management,” he said.

Not that he expects problems. “More than likely, we’ll probably be heavy with staffing,” he said, “but since this is the first year of the event, we would prefer to have too many resources rather than not enough.”

Pappone said he doesn’t anticipate problems on any of the three school campuses along the car show route.

“Every report I’ve heard is that the crowds are very big and well mannered, so we really have no concerns about welcoming visitors to Brandon,” he said.

Classic and modern cars of all shapes and sizes will be on display this weekend as Brandon hosts Automania for the first time. Argus Leader Media file photo

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