Classic car owners will be putting some extra shine on their treasures for Hot August Nights, which cranks up in South Lake Tahoe today and Saturday and then moves to Reno on Monday though Aug. 11.
This year, the venerable Barrett-Jackson Auctions are part of the event, awarding the inaugural Barrett-Jackson Cup and $20,000 to the Ultimate Best of Show of the Show-N-Shine competition.
Around 200,000 people come to Reno each year to gawk at the restored classic automobiles, watch cruises and drag races and attend concerts. They also come to share in a collective nostalgia for a time when cruising with rock 'n' roll on the radio was the ultimate teenage pastime.
Hot August Nights breaks open that time capsule and lets the good time roll no teen angst here.
Barrett-Jackson is bringing some four-wheel classics to share. The Hot Wheels Yellow and Red Haulers, carrying the 'Cuda and Duster Funny Cars (raced by Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen) will be displayed together. In the '70s, Prudhomme and McEwen helped to raise drag racing's profile, in part by attracting Mattel's Hot Wheel toys as a sponsor.
The vehicles will be showcased during the auctions at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center on Aug. 8-10 before going on nationwide tour. Prudhomme will also attend the event's premiere of the upcoming feature film "Snake and Mongoose."
Returning this year as the event's grand marshal is broadcaster Alan Taylor of "The Drive" show. Also on hand will be custom car expert Troy Trepanier.
The event's musical performances are free and take place nightly at Sparks' Victorian Square and the Grand Sierra Resort's parking lot. All performances start at 8:15 p.m. Sparks will offer Summer of Love (Tuesday), Ronny and the Classics (Wednesday), the Jack Dempsey Band (Thursday), Sonny Turner of the Platters (Friday) and Tower of Power (Saturday).
The Grand Sierra's lineup includes Lil' Elmo and the Cosmos (Tuesday), Chicago Tribute Authority (Wednesday), Tina Turner tribute band Simply the Best (Thursday), Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers (Friday) and Paul Revere and the Raiders (Saturday).
Additional entertainment will be provided at South Lake Tahoe this weekend for a pre-Hot August Nights party, topped by the Village People at the MontBleu on Saturday (8 p.m.; $25; Ticketmaster).
The official kickoff cruise is 7 p.m. Wednesday in downtown Reno (cruises take place 7-10 p.m. through Saturday). On Friday and Saturday, the cruise ends with a fireworks display downtown. Hot August Nights wraps up with a parade at 10 a.m. Aug. 11, along Reno's Virginia Street. (hotaugustnights.net)
Boomtown, Reno Guitar Bar: Molly Hatchet, Sept. 1. (800) 648-3790.
Carson Valley Inn The Blues Monsters Concert and Splash Dogs Competition, Aug. 11. Cabaret Lounge: Chili Sauce, today-Saturday; George Pickard, Sunday-Wednesday; Hot Rods, Thursday-Aug. 10. (775) 782-9711.
Eldorado, Reno Biggest Little City's Block Party, Fridays-Saturdays. Showroom: "Grease," Tuesdays-Sundays, through Nov. 10. (800) 648-5966.
Harrah's Lake Tahoe Jeff Bridges & the Abiders, Saturday; The Sun Kings: A Beatles Tribute, Aug. 10. (800) 427-7247.
Harrah's Reno Sammy's Showroom: Biggest Little Sideshow, through Oct. 13. Convention Center: Jeff Bridges & the Abiders, Sunday. Outdoor Plaza: DJ I, Saturday; Lil' Elmo & Cosmos, Wednesday; Route 66, Thursday; Jim Shoe & Sneakers, Pop Vinyl, next Friday. (800) 427-7247.
Harveys, Lake Tahoe Improv: Eddie Ifft, today-Sunday; Rocky LaPorte, Wednesday-Aug. 11. (800) 427-8397.
Horizon, Lake Tahoe Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Thursdays- Tuesdays, continuing. (775) 588-6211.
MontBleu Resort, Lake Tahoe The Village People, Saturday; Whitney Cummings, next Friday. (888) 829-7630.
Silver Legacy, Reno Engelbert Humperdinck, Saturday; Howie Mandel, next Friday. (800) 687-8733.