Thousands of people will pour into downtown Charleston this weekend for the eighth annual Charleston Boulevard Rod Run & Doo Wop, and hundreds of classic and modern cars will begin parking on Kanawha Boulevard starting Thursday.
The event's president, Jack Jarvis, said at least 600 cars from 12 states and Canada are already registered for the event, but there will likely be a few hundred more once the festival begins.
"We never know how many states they'll be coming from," Jarvis said, referring to those who wait to register until the day of the event.
Last year, the Rod Run contributed $4.7 million to the local economy, including 2,263 hotel room nights, Jarvis said.
Those numbers come from analysis and surveys conducted by students at Marshall University and West Virginia State University, he said.
Being the eighth year the event has taken place, Jarvis said the Rod Run's leadership has an understanding of what to expect and what resources are needed.
"We have a pretty good handle on things," he said.
Earlier this year, there was talk of the city of Charleston reducing its $20,000 contribution if the event did not exclude cars made in the last 25 years, per request by Mayor Danny Jones.
However, Jarvis said that dispute has been resolved, and the Rod Run will continue as it always has, complete with $20,000 from the city.
"We have a very good relationship with the city, the county courthouse and all the public officials," he said.
In fact, Jones, a classic car enthusiast himself, will be showing one of his own cars this year - a 1960 Pontiac convertible.
Jones had a lead role in getting the Rod Run started, sparked by his personal interest. He said the event's leaders didn't expect the show to be such a large draw for visitors.
"It's exceeded our expectations - in every way possible," he said.