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It's hard to believe that Hot August Nights has been celebrating the cars and music and lifestyle of the 50s, 60s and 70s for the past 29 years.

In 1986, the event featured several hundred cars in a handful of small venues.

Today, the event (Aug. 3-9 with a kick-off event taking place July 31 and Aug. 1) draws hundreds of thousands of fans and about 6,600 officially registered 1976 and older vehicles, whether they be lovingly restored creampuffs or radically altered street muscle monsters.

In addition, an untold number of car lovers park their own Hot August Nights worthy vehicles on the side streets surrounding the event.

Alan Taylor is this year's parade marshal and has been for six years. He is host of "The Drive With Alan Taylor," a syndicated radio show aired on about 100 outlets. He also is the co-host with Chris Duke of the "Motorz TV" cable television show and attends about 25 car events a year.

"Hot August Nights is kind of the granddaddy just because its so massive," Taylor said.

"Motorz TV" features car improvements for the common man and profiles various special events. Hot August Nights and Taylor will be filmed this year for an episode of the show.

For the first time, the weekend kickoff celebration takes place in Virginia City. Deny Dotson is the Tourism Director for the city.

"When you think of Virginia City, you think of the Victorian era and a chance to step back in time," he said. "When you pair that up with vintage vehicles, it makes a lot of sense. We're thrilled to be able to partner up with Hot August Nights."

C and D Streets in Virginia City will be closed to parking from 8 a.m. July 31 and Aug. 1 for show-and-shines. The city has recently developed the Virginia City Fairgrounds, which will offer parking, including for cars with trailers, and free shuttle service to the event.

Show-and-shines start at 10 a.m. and run through 6:30 p.m. Live music, food vendors and local merchants' wares will be offered.

Dotson said he expects three to four hundred registered vehicles. Registration costs $40 and includes a T-shirt and a dash plaque.

A one-mile cruise takes place from 7-9 p.m. each day. The cars will roll in a single line up C Street and back down D Street.

The actual Hot August Nights event rocks and rolls into Reno and Sparks from Aug. 3-9. Show-and-shines take place each day at a variety of venues, including downtown Reno, downtown Sparks, the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, and the Peppermill Resort Casino. Thousands of dollars in prizes for the most beautiful cars and trucks will be awarded throughout the event at each venue.

The big kahuna of show and shines will be the third annual Barrett Jackson Cup. Vehicles in the downtown Reno show and shines can enter to be judged in the Reno Ballroom at the corner of Second and Center Streets. The prize pool is $105,000. The Best of Show winner gets $30,000, a Barrett-Jackson trophy, a GM crate engine and transmission worth $15,000, Craftsman tools worth $6,000 and additional merchandise worth more than $6,000.

The first and second runner-ups get $18,000 and $10,000 respectively, as well as thousands of dollars in prizes.

As always, rock and roll music highlights Hot Augusts Nights. Free live concerts take place Tuesday through Saturday, Aug. 4-8, at the Grand Sierra and at the Victorian Square in Sparks.

Cover bands include the Summer of Love Band and Ronny and the Classics. Tribute bands include Satisfaction covering the Rolling Stones, Paperback Writers covering the Beatles and Hotel California—A Salute to the Eagles.

Headliners include Papa Doo Run Run, Lil Elmo and the Cosmos, Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone and Blood Sweat and Tears. Sonny Turner will be singing the hit songs of The Platters.

Performances are scheduled to start at 8:15 p.m., and the concerts are free.

Nightly controlled cruises for Hot August Nights registered vehicles take place from 7-10 p.m. from Aug. 4-8 in Sparks and Reno. The cruise in Sparks runs down Victorian Avenue from Rock Boulevard to Pyramid Way. The downtown Reno cruise route down Virginia Street is altered this year due to the closure of the bridge over the Truckee River.

Cars will start at Fourth Street and turn right at Second Street to jog around the construction before driving up Center Street.

Cruises at the participating casinos take place nightly. Hours vary, but the cruises tend to start earlier. Food, beverages and free entertainment is usually available.

One of the more popular events is the drag races and burnouts. As in years past, the races will be held nightly in the west parking lot (corner of 14th Street and Nugget Avenue) of the Nugget Resort Casino in Sparks.

The cost for spectators is $10 and racing takes place from 6 p.m. to midnight. Hot August Nights registered cars race for free, and non-registered cars (must be 1976 and older) pay $75.

The track is approximate an eighth of a mile long. Cars must pass a tech check, tires must be street legal, and no nitrous oxide or racing fuels are allowed. The Wednesday night races will be filmed by the Speed Channel.

The grand finale of the week-long event is the parade down Virginia St. taking place Sunday, Aug. 9.

The cars are staged in one of the University of Nevada's parking lots on North Virginia Street and start rolling at 10 a.m. Show-and-shine winners lead the parade along with parade marshal Alan Taylor. For the next two to three hours, fans get to see some of most beautiful rolling machinery in the world.

"I'm a baby boomer," said Taylor. "That is my era of cars. In high school I had a '767 Chevelle 396 SS. I was a hot rodder kid in high school, and I've worked on cars ever since."

June Garner and her husband Duane have volunteered with Hot August Nights since its inception. She said she appreciates the interaction between car owners and fans and volunteers during the parade.

"The owners are very proud of those vehicles, and we're grateful for them coming and enjoying themselves," she said.

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