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Back to the Strip leaving downtown
Back to The Strip - Eric Jett, 72 Nova original.jpg
Eric Jett shows his 1972 Nova to Back to the Strip organizer Chris Terry during last year's event in downtown McMinnville.

Back to the Strip organizers are backing out of Main Street and putting the brakes on the car show for 2020. A return is promised for 2021. 

“There’s been clear lines drawn in the sand,” said event organizer Mary Walker. “So much negativity, and we don’t want our event brought into this. I don’t know how the business owners are going to act. Our patrons don’t need it. Our volunteers don’t want to be involved in it. None of us really do. We just think it’s in the best interest of the event to step away from downtown.”

The decision to withdraw was given to members of the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday night. Earlier this month, the event was approved for May 2 to be held on Main Street. At that time, more than one board member expressed a desire for it to relocate due to concerns raised by downtown business owners.

Canceling the car show and downtown events this year does not impact riding The Strip, which will still take place Saturday, May 2 beginning at 5 p.m.

Mayor Ben Newman asked if the group had another location in mind for the car show.

“We are looking at different things,” said organizer Chris Terry. “We are going to drop the car show part of it.”

Walker added, “At least for this year. We’re just out of time. We’ve got to be able to pull together what we are doing so we can grasp onto our big corporate sponsors. We are struggling to do that this year, honestly.”

Back to the Strip had grown into a two-part event. After the stationary portion is held in the daytime with a car show and 5K race, participants go for an evening ride on The Strip. Dropped for 2020 will be the daytime activities only. Motorists will still be encouraged to ride The Strip.

Walker says the car show will be back next year.

“We’re going to regroup and start again next year. We’re a little too late to figure things out for this year. The ball has been dropped. We’ve got to pull it together the best we can or we’re fixing to lose this event completely.”