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More than 8,000 classic cars and hot rods roll into central NY for the Syracuse Nationals

The Syracuse Nationals, billed as the biggest car show in the northeast, officially starts today. The Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau figures the Syracuse Nationals will bring between $10-13 million into Central New York. While that's a big economic impact for a weekend event, organizer Bob O'Connor says people tend to come early and stay longer.

"We have people coming in the Saturday before and they go camping, they're staying in hotel rooms and using Syracuse as a base of operations," said O'Connor. "They’re taking day trips to the Thousand Islands, to the Finger Lakes, to the Casino. So it brings money not just to Syracuse but all over.”

The Syracuse Nationals show brings more than 85,000 people to Syracuse every year, showing off 8,000 vehicles ranging from hot rods to antique trucks. O'Connor says a $50 million revamping of the New York State Fairgrounds might make the Syracuse Nationals even bigger in the future.
"Right now, we take cars in for the three day show up to 1980," said O'Connor. "We can’t do any newer ones, because we don’t have anywhere to park them. When they take down the grandstand and take the track out, it will double the size of the midway and that’ll give us a lot more room to put a lot more cars.”
Even though O'Connor is hopeful that the Syracuse Nationals can get even bigger, he admits he's not sure what the future holds.
"Ten years from now, I don’t know where this hobby is going to go," he said. "Because probably half the cars on the road will be electric. So it’ll be like driving your golf cart. The only constant in this world is change, so we’ll see what happens.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.