Elk­ton Mini Grand Prix to re­turn for se­cond year

Event to be held Oct. 14, 2017

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRI­ANNA SHEA OBIT­U­ARY POL­ICY

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— After a suc­cess­ful first event last month, the town board gave the green flag on Wed­nes­day night to hold a se­cond Mini Grand Prix next Oc­to­ber.

Bran­don and Ni­cole Hol­len­baugh, own­ers of Pre­mier Auto & Tire, came be­fore the town board to give a pre­sen­ta­tion on the first Mini Grand Prix, which was held on Oct. 22 in the down-

ELK­TON

town. The cou­ple also sug­gested Oct. 14 as a pos­si­ble date for next year’s event and were hap­pily sur­prised when the board moved to ap­prove that date right away.

We’re su­per ex­cited,” Bran­don said of next year’s race. “We have a date, so we’re ready to move for­ward with it.”

This year’s event raised money for Union Hospi­tal’s new cancer cen­ter and con­sisted of four go-kart races through the down­town streets. Each race con­sisted of 12 laps with all 12 rac­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the first race, then nine in the se­cond race and seven in the fourth race, which was the main event. The third race acted as a con­so­la­tion race.

Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Bran­don noted that the event also brought more peo­ple to the down­town area.

He said he and Steve Fang­man, di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, spoke to busi­ness own­ers on Main Street to re­ceive opin­ions and feed­back about the event. The two handed out pa­pers to the com­mis­sion­ers with sig­na­tures from 17 busi­ness own­ers who said the event pos­i­tively im­pacted their busi­ness that day.

“They loved it and they would love to do it again,” he said.

Com­mis­sioner Mary Jo Jablon­ski said she sent emails to sev­eral busi­ness own­ers in the area ask­ing two ques­tions: did they have more busi­ness than usual and did they want to have the event down­town again. Many busi­nesses, in­clud­ing Spork and Lyon’s Phar­macy, re­ported see­ing an in­crease in busi­ness and cus­tomers, she said.

“Every­one had sales that day,” Jablon­ski said.

Bran­don said they also met with Elk­ton Po­lice Chief Matt Don­nelly and Capt. Joseph Zurolo to dis­cuss their feed­back and he asked for feed­back from the com­mis­sion­ers as well.

Mayor Rob Alt asked how much money was raised from the event. Ni­cole said that more than $5,000 was raised, but a fi­nal fig­ure is still be­ing fig­ured out.

“I think the com­mu­nity, every­one I spoke to, re­ally en­joyed it,” Alt said. “They thought it was one of the nicer events that we’ve ever had in our town.”

Alt said some spec­ta­tors may have thought the event was over after the first race be­cause it took a bit longer to start the next race due to to some go-kart re­pairs. But after those is­sues were fixed ev­ery­thing went smoothly, Alt said not­ing those were “hic­cups.”

Bran­don agreed that the go-karts had a few me­chan­i­cal is­sues but said the crew was able to fix the is­sues and every­one was able to race.

Alt noted that Zurolo men­tioned to him the route should go the op­po­site way and that there should be bet­ter pro­tec­tion for the rac­ers go­ing around cor­ners. But he said those are things that can be worked out.

Com­mis­sioner Earl Piner sug­gested ad­ver­tis­ing a few months in ad­vance as well as putting up a ban­ner at the hospi­tal and other ar­eas to let peo­ple know about the event.

Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, Bran­don also thanked all of the vol­un­teers from the com­mu­nity who helped with the event, in­clud­ing the Boy Scouts and the Cub Scouts as well as lo­cal sports teams.

Look­ing for­ward to next year’s event, Bran­don said they’re con­sid­er­ing hold­ing an all-fe­male race, which would in­crease the event from four races to five races.

A rough cut of a video about the race was shown dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion as well.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Go-kart rac­ers speed down Main Street dur­ing the first Elk­ton Mini Grand Prix last month. The event will re­turn for a se­cond year on Oct. 14, 2017.

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