Why did Automania ditch Sioux Falls?

Rat Fink, we are headed for Brandon

There is probably several reasons why Automania decided to leave SF to go the Weirdsville, but you gotta love the excuse they are ‘telling’ people;

The annual show draws 50,000 to 70,000 people each year. This year’s event is scheduled for June 28-30.

Automania chairman Bill Nelson says the move is simply about space and logistics. He says the number of spectators made it hard to find enough space and parking in downtown Sioux Falls.

Yet 50,000 found a place to park each year. Sure, Bill. The ‘rumor’ on the street is that Brandon gave Automania an ‘in$entive’ to relocate while DTSF would not. If anyone could verify that, I would appreciate it. I suspect Automania will return to SF the following year after attendees find out how much fun Weirdsville’s cops are to deal with.


#1 scott on 01.13.13 at 3:11 pm

they should’ve moved automania out to the “entertainment district”. there’s plenty of parking out there, right?

#2 l3wis on 01.13.13 at 3:18 pm

and a TIF to boot.

#3 hmr59 on 01.13.13 at 5:38 pm

Hmmm, walking 4 blocks downtown vs. driving to Brandon??? Well, so long, Automania – been nice to know ya.

#4 Scott on 01.13.13 at 6:17 pm

Why does our local press just accept these numbers? 50 to 70k? Um, no. It’s a big event, to be sure, and they should be proud of whatever numbers they do have but the hyeprbole is out of control.

#5 l3wis on 01.13.13 at 7:46 pm

Scott – I have been to it, I would guess that it is topping out at 35 to 40K but you are right, the 70K number is total bullshit.

#6 l3wis on 01.13.13 at 7:49 pm

Just think of how the Brandon ‘Mayberry’ cops are going to handle that many people. I am almost giddy about that scenario. While the SFPD isn’t much better, they do have a bigger staff, and have ‘some’ experience in handling these kind of events. I’m sure the Brandon PD ordered ‘Large Events for Dummies’. Maybe they can get them signed by Huether?

#7 hornguy on 01.13.13 at 10:19 pm

A lot of people attend those downtown events specifically because it’s an excuse to look at stuff while hanging out downtown. Who wants to hang out in Brandon? I bet this year’s event will look more like “Autophobia.”

#8 Big Guy on 01.14.13 at 12:53 am

Brandon? I go to Automania almost every year… Guess I will skip this one.

One time I heard a rumor about fairground being offered foe this event. Has anyone got any details?

#9 Big Guy on 01.14.13 at 12:53 am

Brandon? I go to Automania almost every year… Guess I will skip this one.

One time I heard a rumor about fairground being offered for this event. Has anyone got any details?

#10 Big Guy on 01.14.13 at 12:54 am

Ugh… l3wis, sorry about double post. the 2nd one has corrected spelling and please do delete my first comment. Thanks.

#11 OleSlewFoot on 01.14.13 at 8:32 am

The logo in the upper left part of the photo on this link may be part of the reason… Also is not Bill Nelson from Brandon. And when they have had the garage tours, there were more in Brandon that in SF or other places.


Looks like the same SF businesses are supporting as sponsers.

#12 Testor15 on 01.14.13 at 8:48 am

Automania did try the fairgrounds a few years ago and it was a huge failure. What else is there to do but go look at cars while stomping around in grass and mud.

Things downtown has are variety, pavement, plenty of choices for beer and it is at the crossroads of the area. Walking amongst the old buildings adds a vitality to the event. The playing bands had their music bounced off the buildings to great effect.

If you forgot Automania was happening you were suddenly reminded if you needed to drive anywhere close to downtown. One other thing, the downtown businesses who complain about the blocked streets don’t often stay open to the thousands of people who would visit their stores, likely buying something.

In all the years I have attended the event, there was never a problem parking anywhere nearby. Is Sioux Falls so fat and lazy they cannot walk a couple of extra steps to get to an event where they are going to walk?

The owners of many of these cars are going to be disappointed with the atmosphere. Brandon is always trying to be more than they are or could possibly be. In all my years living here, Brandon residents and city officials have tried to convince us they are better than everyone else, so they will try again.

Have a beer? Are you kidding? Eat carnival swill from the food carts? I have no plans to go to Brandon with all the extra Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Deputies, Rent-a-Cops and excitable Brandon ‘Police’ looking to pick up anyone they can to build their numbers.

All I can add now is Good Luck!

#13 Craig on 01.14.13 at 9:15 am

Add me to the list of people who most likely won’t bother to drive to Brandon. Part of the draw to Automania was the downtown location and being able to dip in and out of bars or eateries on a whim. What does Brandon have to offer… the freaking Pizza Ranch?

I also have heard a few of the sponsors are not happy about the move, and although they are staying involved this year they are greatly reducing the level of sponsorship. If this year is a bust, you can bet a few will be pulling out prior to next year.

As to the Fairgrounds, the year they tried the event there things didn’t work out primarily because it was raining and overcast most of the weekend. That meant nobody wanted to stand outside, and those who owned the vehicles didn’t want their garage queens getting wet so many of them didn’t come out (and those that did often kept the cars in trailers for much of the weekend).

With better weather the fairgrounds would probably be ok, but still not as ideal as downtown. They could also consider doing a combination indoor/outdoor event at the Arena / Events Center / Convention Center, but again you lose some of the benefits you get from being downtown.

Time will tell how the Brandon move impacts them, but I would not be surprised to hear of attendance being down 30-40%. A lot of people who go to those types of things are merely there because it is something to do… and they aren’t about to drive to Brandon without good reason. Of course the event organizers are sure to say the event was a huge success and that the turnout was greater than it ever was. They probably learned their head counting skills from the organizers of Lifelight.

#14 Sy on 01.14.13 at 11:58 am

The line from Nelson is pure BS. Most of the people who attend Automania are the same folks who attend Hot Harley Nights and Hot Summer Nights, and they do so for the reasons already stated above, ie the overall experience. I’m guessing your rumor has legs.

#15 Big Guy on 01.14.13 at 12:37 pm

Testor – Must be the year I missed it. Was out of town for a while.

#16 Scott on 01.14.13 at 1:25 pm

Any downtown event works simply because it is downtown. When any of them move out of there, attendance goes down…even if it just down the street to Falls Park. It’s not the cars that bring down the vast majority of people; it’s the excuse to hang out with everybody downtown. Moving it to Brandon turns it back into an event that will consist primarily only their own members.

#17 l3wis on 01.14.13 at 3:05 pm

I guarantee that Brandon is probably scrambling to pull out all the stops to make it work. I wouldn’t even doubt they run shuttles from SF.

#18 Testor15 on 01.16.13 at 7:15 am

L3wis, just wha tI really want to do, stand in line waiting for a yellow school bus ride to Brandon. Will they have monitors / supervisors on the buses so we stay in our seats?

#19 Testor15 on 01.16.13 at 7:18 am

Big Guy, it was a few years ago. Added to the misery was the rain, mud and cold. A very nice event.

#20 Toldyaso on 06.26.14 at 10:03 pm

So, 2013 was a huge success, right?
You guys are SMART.

#21 Greenfloyd on 06.25.16 at 7:48 am

Sounds like a lot of wineing, if you don’t want to drive 10 miles to Brandon dont. If you appreciate looking at nice cars and drive 15min. Enjoy to the day ther or don’t.

#22 Ron Wieman on 06.30.17 at 2:29 pm

Why would they have this event on a Friday?? Between moving out of Sioux Falls and now having it on a working day, I would say numbers will be down a lot! I won’t be there.