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Carlisle Events kicks off largest car show, says economic impact in the millions

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Carlisle Events kicked off Spring Carlisle today, noting that its largest car show of the season employs 300 full- and part-time people and pumps millions into the area economy.

A 2008 PA Tourism Office study concluded that the average car show visitor spends $104 per day. The car show season adds a combined $98 million to the local economy, according to the study.

"You figure Spring Carlisle is our largest show we do each year, so a fair amount of that percentage is from that show," said Mike Garland, spokesman for Carlisle Events. "Certainly the hotels are filling up from the people that are coming to town and the restaurants will be booming as well."

A new study is in progress that is expected to yield fresh data on the economic impact of the car shows by the end of the year, Garland added.

This year's show runs through Sunday and is part of a season-long 40th anniversary celebration of Carlisle Events. It marks the return of the popular two-day collector car auction, held at the nearby Carlisle Expo Center. Hundreds of cars will be available to the highest bidder.

The company revived its Carlisle Auctions brand to run a series of auto auctions for the 2014 car show season, starting with Spring Carlisle. Three new employees were hired along with the move, Garland noted.

The return of Carlisle Auctions coincides with the close of a three-year relationship between Carlisle Events and Auctions America. Carlisle Events co-owner Bill Miller has said he wanted to resume control of the auction business and promised streamlined fees, an easier registration process, and a free-unless-sold policy

The latter policy allows for a consignor to offer a car with the assurance that if the car does not sell, all fees associated with the registration process are refunded.

In addition, Spring Carlisle is the first event since Carlisle Events partnered with the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau on a co-branded lodging reservations system. Car show attendees can choose properties within their desired location and budget that include special amenities such as car-washing stations and secure parking.

The CVVB will be Carlisle Events' exclusive booking/lodging agent. The bureau's booking technology launched in conjunction with its new website in 2012 and provides travelers with one-stop booking and travel options.

"They can find accommodations in our region and get out into the community," Garland said. "It's more of a tie-in with local businesses."

All told, Spring Carlisle will draw approximately 100,000 people to Carlisle over a five-day span, he said.

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