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Utica might add a different kind of car show next year

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 30, 2019

 A group called EMMEET plans to return to the Utica City Council to discuss hosting a car show in downtown Utica next year that may attract a younger demographic than a typical car show. The group has hosted multiple car shows around southeast Michigan.

A group called EMMEET plans to return to the Utica City Council to discuss hosting a car show in downtown Utica next year that may attract a younger demographic than a typical car show. The group has hosted multiple car shows around southeast Michigan.

Photo provided by Solomon Peter

UTICA — Already home to one well-established car show, the city of Utica is looking into adding a second, different type of car show to the downtown’s events next year.

Utica each year has a classic car show called Gasoline Alley. However, during a special meeting at City Hall Aug. 26, city officials met with a car group that is interested in hosting a different type of car show than Utica has had before.

The group, called EMMEET, is a Dearborn-based group that comprises mainly young car enthusiasts who are passionate about the automotive hobby. The group has hosted multiple car shows around southeastern Michigan and is looking to bring its car show event to downtown Utica.

The group spoke with city officials at the meeting about the possibility. EMMEET was looking to have the show in Utica this year on Sept. 28; however, the planning will have to wait until next year.

Members of the city and EMMEET agreed that the event request was a little bit on short notice, as advertising, organization and getting the word out would need a little more time. Also, with the colder weather coming, the show might have to wait until warmer weather returns.

Mayor Thom Dionne said that they are looking at next year for the car show because they want to make sure everything is put together properly before they agree to bring the event to the downtown.

“We denied the event for this year. There wasn’t enough time/information to make sure it was done in a manner that was going to be safe and well-organized,” he said.

“Upon meeting with the event organizer, EMMEET (Eastern Michigan Meet), we were in support of the concept of hosting the event in downtown Utica. It was the case that there would have been a need for much last-minute planning and rushing the process in order to meet their timeline,” he said.

“Council was not inclined to make a snapshot decision without having all of the information to host such a large event. Having said that, council was impressed with the event organizers’ concept and presentation and are hopeful that the event will be hosted next fall with a longer forecasted lead time,”  said Dionne.

City Councilman Gus Calandrino said Sept. 28 was just too soon, as the event would require planning on the city’s part and officials have experience with their existing car show, Gasoline Alley.

“We voted to not have it this year because there just isn’t enough time to properly prepare for it and to promote it. They wanted to have it on Sept. 28. We asked them to come back earlier next year and we’ll reconsider it,” Calandrino said.

The city is looking into next year, as this event can bring a different presence to Utica.

“This car show would attract an entirely different demographic than the Utica Gasoline Alley show. We welcome events which bring new energy to our downtown. We just have to make sure we have enough time to perform the planning and promotion necessary to make the event a success,” Calandrino said.

“We asked the promoters to engage with the city much earlier next year. Council needs to ensure we have adequate police presence and that the event is consistent with the expectations of our downtown business owners and residents,” he said.

He said EMMEET will be hosting an event in Sterling Heights this month instead so that they can stay local.

“The promoters are trying to get an event for Sept. 28 at Lakeside Mall,” he said.

Solomon Peter, the business development/event coordinator for EMMEET, said they have been working with the city of Utica and look forward to working with Dionne and the members of the council to make the car show possible next year.

“We have been talking to the mayor and would like to host a show at Utica. We are not sure on the date yet, but most likely it will be either a season opener in June or a fall event in September,” said Peter.

Peter agreed with Calandrino and said the group will be hosting an event this month in Sterling Heights.

“Our show is taking place at Lakeside Mall from 2 to 7 p.m. Sept. 28. We reserved an outside parking lot to accommodate all our members, and we will be placing 20-25 display cars inside the mall,” he said.

For more information on the event, visit