Iola Car Show to resume in 2021

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 7:53 PM CST
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IOLA (WLUK) -- The Iola Car Show is giving the green light for this year’s three-day event after last year’s cancellation.

The car show was one of many events put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“Our show is a very important piece of central Wisconsin and there’s just a tremendous amount of people that rely on the success of our show,” Iola Car Show executive director Joe Opperman said.

A year without the Iola Car Show doesn’t just impact the organization.

The car show typically gives direct funding to about 130 groups.

“Those 130 groups got no funding from us last year which for some of them that’s their entire budget,” Opperman said.

It doesn’t stop there.

“That doesn’t touch on hotels, gas stations, stores, all of the others that receive those tourist related dollars,” Opperman said.

Opperman is excited to move forward with the event this year.

He isn’t the only one.

EAA is planning to hold AirVenture, Oshkosh’s biggest event of the summer.

EAA says the event has an economic impact of $170 million.

“We’re going to make every move possible to make sure that that event can come off. It’ll be a safe event, it’ll be a fun event, and we’ll get back together on the flightline once again,” EAA director of communications Dick Knapinski said.

The Fox Cities Chamber is remaining cautiously optimistic.

Their biggest event, Octoberfest, brought in about 220,000 people in 2019.

In order to host events like this, the chamber must obtain permits.

“The people that issue the permits will be watching the success of the vaccine rollout. If people are reluctant to get the vaccine, it will be harder for us to get the permits to have this event, or have any events during the summer,” Fox Cities Chamber president/CEO Becky Bartoszek said.

Bartoszek remains hopeful.

“All of us are basically in the same position who put on large events like this. We really want to get these up and running but we have to do it in a safe manner and we have to do it the right way,” Bartoszek said.

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