Ignite the Nites, the biggest summer event in Libby, is just two short weeks away, and if the thought was it couldn’t be any grander than last year’s 50th anniversary celebration, think again.
The main events still are Friday and Saturday, Aug. 17 and 18, with Mineral Avenue as “The Strip,” but local businesses, led by Mike Munro of Treasure Mountain, are luring show enthusiasts in a day early, on Thursday, Aug. 16, an idea that excited Igniters Club President Darren Short.
“He came to talk to me early in the year, about February or March, and said he wanted to help to make it bigger,” said Short.
“I told him we couldn’t really make it bigger, as the hotel space is limited, but we could make it longer, so he kind of ran with it and got the word out that there would be a poker run on Thursday, all sponsored by local businesses, and we supported that,” Short said.
Short said he knows area hotels are booked for the weekend, but on Thursday many still had rooms, so it all seemed like a good idea.
“We do think it will be better than in years past. Last year, we had 454 cars from Lincoln Boulevard all the way to Second Street,” Short said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t have 500 cars (this year). We’re planning on having cars from Lincoln Boulevard all the way down and around the cul-de-sac (by the train depot),” he said.
For Munro, the idea was simple: Improve on an already great thing.
“This is the biggest event of the year for Libby,” Munro said.“We know we don’t have the hotels for too many more people, as the campgrounds and everything is full. Still, we figured if people come in Thursday, get settled then they have time to shop and do things Friday rather than just hurry up and register. The whole town will benefit from this.”
Munro said he, and some other businesses, are funding the Thursday poker run, just to get people to come.
“This brings out-of-towners to Libby, brings hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Munro said.“Hopefully, these people see this and want to come back. Maybe even relocate here.”
Car registration begin at 3 p.m. Friday and runs until 8 p.m. All cars registering must have proof of insurance and all cars that are planning to cruise must be registered.
Also beginning at 3 p.m. Friday there will be a poker run until 9:30 p.m.
Then, starting at 6 p.m. begins the famous “Cruise The Gut” on Mineral Avenue, which will be followed by the Neon and Flame-throwing Contest at about 10 p.m.
Bright and early Saturday morning begins at 8 a.m. registration continues until noon.
The Car Show will run from 9 a.m. til 3 p.m. with the multitudes of cars up and down Mineral Avenue.
At 10 a.m., there will be a Poker Walk until 1 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony beginning about 3 p.m.
The ever-popular Burnout Contest will be at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The evening will culminate with the Igniters Dance at the Memorial Center beginning at 9 p.m. This year’s featured band is “Men in the Making.”
The Igniters are the oldest active car club in Montana, established in 1961.
There are a multitude of car, truck and motorcycle categories.
For more information, persons should go to the Igniters Car Club Website at www.igniterscarclub.com