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Keystone State Clashes with Car Show Over COVID, Enthusiasts ‘Dare’ Them to Shut it Down

If things continue to overheat, there is almost no doubt that someone is going to blow a gasket this weekend. 

Car people are a very specific subsection of the American cultural landscape, and are simultaneously irreverent and immovable at times.

These are folks who’ve found something that they absolutely love, and will spend decades upon decades perfecting.  In many ways, owning and maintaining an enthusiast vehicle, or a weekender, is like owning a pet…but for forever, and by spending a whole lot more money.

It’s part art form and part problem solving, with a heaping scoop of style points in there for good measure.

There is real passion among these folks, and that fervor was on full display this week in Pennsylvania.

Organizers of an outdoor car show in Pennsylvania said late Wednesday that the event would go on despite a lawsuit by the state health department seeking to shut it down for operating in violation of coronavirus restrictions, specifically a rule banning gatherings of more than 250 people.

The sprawling event expects to see about 100,000 attendees over four days.

Show organizers called the state’s coronavirus health order “invalid” and said they would “vigorously defend this action” to open their event in court.

The event, called Spring Carlisle, started Wednesday and is scheduled to go through Saturday. But the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) sued Carlisle Events, the organization putting on “one of the largest automotive flea markets in the world and one of the best opportunities to get your hands on all things automotive,” early Wednesday morning. It said that the group had ignored multiple warnings from the state to not continue with Spring Carlisle after earlier this month it asked for a waiver excepting it from the 250-person limit.

The language that the group used was an unmistakable challenge to local authorities.

“Similar to other large outdoor entertainment venues and amusement parks that have or are scheduled to open under the Green Phase in southcentral Pennsylvania, our approximately 100-acre event facility provides ample space for vendors and patrons to interact in a responsible manner, consistent with the CDC’s social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines,” Carlisle Events’ statement read.

It added: “Carlisle Events has worked tirelessly to put on this event in a socially responsible manner and will continue to do so. We believe the Department of Health’s order is invalid. Even if the order is valid, the department has erred in its application to outside events such as ours, or has acted arbitrarily in seeking to enforce the order against us, while permitting other entertainment venues to open.”

If things continue to overheat, there is almost no doubt that someone is going to blow a gasket this weekend.

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