Recently, I have received questions regarding the scheduling of our community’s anniversary. Since 2012, our anniversaries have occurred during the last Saturday of March or the first Saturday of April.
The growth of the anniversaries has been tremendous. Last year's anniversary reached the participation limit of Hunt Valley Towne Centre. Imagine over 3000 automobiles on one morning! Based on the 3-year trend, the next anniversary - with proper weather - would greatly exceed the site's capacity to accommodate the gathering. [Decreased parking due to the active apartment construction must also be considered.] Moving the anniversary to a new location - such as M&T Bank Park, Ripken Stadium, the Fairgrounds, etc. - isn't suitable at this time. Hunt Valley Towne Centre has been our community's home since 2012. Everyone – from the regulars to those that participate a few times per year – knows where to find our gathering. ‘HVTC’ has the tradition, image, accessibility and amenities. While the larger venue options may be very suitable for certain types of events, they don’t have that magic for a gathering that has thrived in the heritage of Cars & Coffee. Also, gathering at a larger venue typically means added costs - from grounds fees to signage to insurance – which can be considerable. I’m surely not ready to charge at the entrance for any form of the heritage gatherings to balance these costs.
While it’s great to gather en masse, there are negatives to the process beyond the fact that we would exceed capacity. First, there are enthusiasts that solely seek out the largest events for participation. The anniversaries may draw new enthusiasts that become respected regulars but they also draw people that ‘neglect and go’. They’ll participate once, disrespect the community’s guidelines and disappear…unless our friends and community members from Precinct 7 have some words and paperwork for them on Shawan Road or I-83. These few that ‘neglect and go’ are not part of our community and they will not direct our image when it comes to the surrounding community. Second, most people desire the relaxed atmosphere of gathering with friends for conversation and to see all-things automotive for maybe a half-hour or the full two hours. That’s part of our community’s foundation. The anniversaries – as they have become larger – have created more traffic from I-83 to the HTVC entrance and parking with your standard group of friends could become an exercise in futility. Surely, the anniversaries can be a grand spectacle for many, but many also view the grander scale to be less relaxing and an inconvenience. At that point, it’s no longer a celebration of our community as a whole.
With all of these points in consideration, it’s best to remain at our primary location and roll into the season with no grand-scale anniversary. Please share the word with your fellow participants of Hunt Valley Horsepower. Don’t fret. We continue to gather! For one morning, it will be on a lesser scale than in years past.
To supplement activity this year, there will be 2 concours events at the Winery at Elk Manor, club gatherings throughout the year at Hunt Valley Towne Centre, a potential Oktoberfest event in Baltimore, potential rallies starting in Hunt Valley, tours to Simeone Museum, sponsor events, the Toys For Tots event in Hunt Valley, etc. All communities that stand the test of time must evolve. As a growing community, this is an evolution that will benefit our future.