The Brighton Kiwanis Classic Cars on Main Street event, which has been taking place more than a decade, has been canceled until further notice due to safety concerns downtown, in part because of a lack of volunteers.
Kiwanis club concert chairperson Dennis Dimoff said the group needs more volunteers to help with the events, and police say they need a safety plan.
“We definitely want it, the city wants it, it was not the city that shut us down,” he said. “It was an agreement with everybody.”
The free car shows, which have taken place on Sundays in July and August as part of the Kiwanis Mill Pond Concert series, began in 2008, but started to get a lot bigger last year, which led to safety concerns. There have been as many as 150 cars taking part.
“Our problem is the show has grown so big that we don’t have enough space for all the cars,” he said. “The cars that come in late are causing the issues.”
Creating a safer car show would include having cars pre-register for the event and enlisting volunteers to help direct traffic, he said.
Deputy Police Chief Craig Flood said that as the event has become more popular, there are more cars, and he agreed Kiwanis has not had the necessary volunteers to run the event.
During events in downtown Brighton, Flood explained, a 20-foot lane in the middle of the road must remain clear in case emergency vehicles need to get through.
“They were routinely having vehicles park in that 20-foot area, which was in direct violation of fire code,” Flood said.
Dimoff said some people have also parked in intersections, outside the designated area and other places they aren’t supposed to. Some even moved barricades to park their cars.
Many of the issues, he added, were caused by people outside of the Brighton area attending the event.
“A few car people messed it up for the whole group,” Dimoff said.
Another issue arose when some vehicle owners decided to leave early, they drove through crowds of people, Flood noted.
“Our concern is one slip of the pedal and we have a tragedy,” he said.
However, other car owners would stay late, outside of the permitted hours of the event, which led to police officers going into restaurants and bars to find the owners of the cars and ask them to move.
Dimoff said once the Kiwanis Club comes up with a safety plan for future shows, they just have to get it approved by the city and then they can start the shows again.
The Kiwanis Club will post updates to their Facebook page and website, BrightonKiwanis.com.
Sophia Lada is a reporter for the Livingston Daily. Contact her at [email protected] or 517.377.1065. Follow her on Twitter @sophia_lada.