Springfield’s 2017 travel season kicks into high gear this weekend with the 34th Annual National Street Rod Association Mid-America Street Rod Nationals.

More than 2,200 pre-1988 specialty vehicles will be in the city along with their owners who are expected to generate nearly 3,400 room nights at hotels and spend about $1.5 million while they’re here, said Tracy Kimberlin, president/CEO at the Convention & Visitors Bureau, the organization that has booked the event in the city for more than 20 years.

“About 5,000 people are expected to be there over the weekend,” Kimberlin said. “This event is great for Springfield because it takes place over Memorial Day weekend, which typically is a slow weekend for the city’s hotels because so many people go to the lakes for the holiday.”

Along with boosting the local economy, the event provides an entertainment opportunity for the public. Along with cars on display, patrons can enjoy a variety of activities, including games for kids and adults, music, a vintage auto parts swap meet, model car display, quilt show and more.

StreetKahana, an event where drivers navigate a twisting course of cones without knocking them over, will be a crowd pleaser with lots of squealing tires, smoking brakes and revving engines.

The Mid-America Street Rod Nationals is set for 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday at Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. StreetKahana is from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Admission is $15 for adults, $6 for ages 6-12 and free for children under 6.

Several of the cars will likely participate in the cruising night approved by the City Council in April. The Cruise Kearney! kickoff begins at 6 p.m. Friday with a ribbon cutting at Kearney Street and Melville Avenue.

Food trucks will be at Benton Avenue and Kearney Street and cruisers who want to park for a while can pull into the former Kmart parking lot at Kearney Street and Glenstone Avenue for a “show and shine” cruise-in.

The McDonald’s at 1114 E. Kearney St. is offering a special from 6-10 p.m.: a double cheeseburger and a small frozen Coke for $2.

Following the kickoff, Cruise Kearney! events will be from 6-10 p.m. on the second Friday of each month April through October.

For more information, about Cruise Kearney! go to https://www.springfieldmo.gov/civicalerts.aspx?AID=2795. For information about the Mid-America Street Rod Nationals, visit http://www.nsra-usa.com/Events/ or call the CVB at 417-881-5300.

The CVB is a nonprofit marketing organization dedicated to improving the local economy through growth in travel and tourism.