By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson Post
Slammin’ & Jammin’, the auto show that features various car competitions, entertainment and a bikini contest, returns to Lebanon beginning today for its 16th annual event at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center.
The event will continue on Saturday and Sunday, May 23-24. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under.
A larger crowd is expected this year versus those who attended the 2008 show, said Charlie Cobble, president of Autoshows Motorsport Events, the company that presents Slammin’ & Jammin’ each year.
“We’re looking for a bigger crowd this year than last year,” he said, noting that many of the attendees are choosing to forego the small car shows this year and are going to the larger ones likely due to the economy.
In years past, Slammin’ & Jammin’ has attracted as many as 10,000 people to the Ward Ag Center.
Attendance was down a bit in ’08 as higher fuel prices were recorded but still attracted more than 1,400 vehicles registered in the various contests, he said.
The economic recession has touched the event this year, however, with Cobble noting that a couple of events have been cancelled. Also cancelled this year is the Drag & Brag Contest due to insurance concerns.
Even so, he noted, some other events have been added such as a stunt bike performer and a Hydraulic Contest which will have two vehicles tangling with each other.
Also set to appear are Slick Chix, a group whose members wrestle each other covered in oil. Cobble noted there is no hitting or anything like that. Rather, he said, it was more entertainment than sport.
Some of the smaller vendors who would normally be at the event will not be attending this year due to the economy, but many of the larger ones will still be there, Cobble said, adding some 30 vendors have signed up to be at Slammin’ & Jammin’.
Cobble noted that an auto club is to meet at LP Field in Nashville where the Tennessee Titans play and will travel together in a convoy to Lebanon to attend Slammin’ & Jammin’ this weekend.
The auto club is to have 75 to 100 vehicles in the convoy which he said would be provided an escort as members travel I-40 to the Ward Ag. Center where the group will have a special place set up at the site.
Cobble said families were welcome to attend the event as there will be something for everyone.
“This is a family event,” he noted, adding that dads can look at the vehicles and moms can visit many of the vendors. There will also be activities for children.
Slammin’ & Jammin’ attendees do make an impact on the local economy by booking rooms at local hotels, eating at restaurants and visiting area stores. It has been estimated in the past that the event impacts the local economy by more than $2 million.
Slammin’ & Jammin’ also makes an impact in another way as well and that is through traffic on the main roads, especially on South Cumberland Street/Highway 231 south of the Square.
While most of the attendees are actually at the Ward Ag Center for the various competitions, there are those, mostly locals, authorities have said, who cruise up and down South Cumberland often causing traffic tie-ups making it difficult for others to enter local businesses and also making it difficult for emergency vehicles to respond to calls if summoned.
Commissioner of Public Safety Billy Weeks told The Wilson Post in the May 14, 2008 edition that last year’s Slammin’ & Jammin’ event would cost about $30,000 in overtime for Lebanon Police.
On several occasions in the past, the annual car show’s opening night has occurred on the same night that graduation exercises for Lebanon High School have been held. That will not be a problem this year as seniors from LHS will graduate on Friday, June 5.
Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.