Street rods drive York County tourism business

WEST MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa -- Friday kicked off the 44th Street Rod Nationals East at the York Fairgrounds Expo Center.

The street rods bring more than just traffic to the roadways in York County.

Nearly anyone driving through parts of York County Friday, could catch a glimpse of a street rod.

There are about 3,000 of them driving up the tourism business in York County for the weekend.

The start of the 44th Street Rod Nationals Parade helps kick off a season of summer events in York County.

Street rod rider Spencer McCarty from Hampton, Virginia said "we come every year. It's one of the best shows in the country. We go to a few others, and we kinda like this one best."

York County Convention & Visitors Bureau president Anne Druck said "you're looking at about 20,000 people. We calculate the estimated economic impact of all the major events that come into our community, and Street Rods is one that brings in $13 million of economic impact in one weekend."

The drivers came from Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and all over the U.S. and Canada.

National Street Rods Association Special Events director Jerry Kennedy said "the camaraderie of the riders that are here, and even some of the local people, the business merchants and stuff that we have met over the 40 years, it's coming back and to have the hospitality shown to our people, that's exactly why we continue to come back."

With about 3,000 street rods in the area, the drivers bring more than just extra traffic to area roadways.

"They are dining in our restaurants, and they're shopping in our retail venues, and they're also pumping gas to fill these tanks to get all around town. So, it has a big ripple effect," Druck said.

The street rods also offer spectators a visual road trip through time.

"Street rod in definition was put into Webster's Dictionary by the National Street Rod Association, and that is a modernized, pre-1948 automobile," Kennedy said.

"Every one is different, from a wrecker to a race car, to this the flames, everybody's personality goes through the car," McCarty said.

Including the street rod McCarty is driving.

"We have four, but this one is my wife's car, and she's a Betty Boop fan," McCarty said.

There is one other thing many are happy to see besides the cool cars.

"We're glad to see the sun come out. As you can see, they all look better glistening in the sun, than they do sitting under a cloud," Kennedy said.