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LAGUNA SECA – The Monterey Classic Car Week is – finally – back on solid ground. Or at least that’s what organizers and officials pointed out Tuesday morning as they gathered to discuss the details of this year’s motoring celebration.

At a roundtable hosted by the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, event partners provided a preview of what’s in store for Classic Car Week 2022, which is set to span from August 12 to 21. Those present at the forum included representatives from Monterey County, City of Monterey, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Big Sur Food & Wine Festival, Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club, and Prancing Ponies Foundation and Rally, among other spokespersons for the myriad of auto amusements. intended.

Together, as each offered a take on their own slice of Classic Car Week, the consortium of leaders showed confidence as they headed into a celebration more reminiscent of the pre-pandemic years and, in some ways , revamped for a new era.

“It just feels more cohesive,” said Lindsey Guinn, director of marketing communications for the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Everyone feels like they know what they’re doing again. … There have been so many ups and downs in the last year, with crowds and different masks and mandates. But I think now our organizers feel much more comfortable organizing their events.

Typically, Classic Car Week attracts over 85,000 visitors to the county. Last year, while the 10-day affair was still finding its footing amid COVID-19, the MCCVB saw overnight visits hit about 91% of pre-pandemic levels, Guinn explained. For 2022, however, hotels are already seeing event dates booked.

“(Hotel occupancy) is one of the biggest indicators that we have to determine what the crowds will look like for (Classic Car Week),” Guinn continued. “So knowing that we’re about a month away and a handful of major hotels are (at) 90 per cent occupancy, we can anticipate that the crowds will be as before.”

As regional driving tours are set to make a comeback, organizers are also eager to attract a wider international audience this year than was possible in 2021.

With pandemic restrictions largely lifted for cross-border travel, Guinn said there was a possibility for next month’s Classic Car Week to see a return of international attendance. And while Guinn added that out-of-country visits may not be entirely reminiscent of years past, a rebound – however slow – would boost the local economy.

“I know they won’t be back in full force yet, but bigger (international) groups that usually came in the past are coming back and booking again,” she said. “…We really like it because generally our international travelers will come and stay longer, spend a little more and do more in the county.”

Meanwhile, whatever mix of visitors head to Classic Car Week in August, event organizers are eager to get the festivities started. This is especially the case for Chanerria McGilbra, founder of the Prancing Ponies Foundation and Rally.

After skipping last year, the Prancing Ponies Women’s Car Show – an event designed to bring together and inspire car enthusiasts – is back on the lineup for Classic Car Week, scheduled for Thursday, August 18. It will also be the only Classic Car Week event to take place in Carmel this year, as the town will not be hosting its usual contest on the avenue.

“I’m really touched by it all,” McGilbra said. “We’re like family, so it’s wonderful to see the support from the community and to come together as committed women in the automotive industry. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.

Other event partners noting their enthusiasm during Tuesday’s roundtable included Barry Toepke, director of heritage events and public relations for WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Outlining the circuit’s Classic Car Week plans, Toepke assured that familiar events like the launch of Monterey Car Week on Alvarado Street will take place this year, but added that his Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion would be a little different.

While the event usually runs Thursday through Sunday of Classic Car Week, Toepke said the race center will start a day early. In doing so, organizers plan to leave Sunday open for a community day, where visitors will have the chance to explore the WeatherTech Raceway paddock and browse the cars on display.

“It’s sort of evolving into a lifestyle event, as well as racing. … It’s a personal and professional reward for us,” Toepke said. “The team is excited to be back on track hosting events and welcoming people to the Monterey Peninsula.”

For information on the schedule of Classic Car Week events taking place throughout Monterey County, visit seemonterey.com.

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