Back to the Bricks expected to help the local economy roar to life this week

Published: Aug. 14, 2018 at 11:28 PM EDT
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(08/14//2018) - It was a nice evening for a drive-in movie.

Hundreds of people and classic cars rolled into the US-23 drive-in theater Tuesday for a showing of Tucker: The Man and His Dream.

It's Bricks Flicks, the eve of the kickoff of this year's Back to the Bricks event.

And car engines aren't the only thing roaring to life this week.

Organizers say Back to the Bricks is expected to attract around 40-thousand cars, and up to 600-thousand visitors over the five day period.

Some of those folks flooding into Flint are visitors, and they'll be pumping money into the local economy every time they pay for gas, food, and lodging.

Those we spoke with in the hospitality industry are not complaining about the busy week they're going to have.

Chef Tyler Hardisty hopes to serve up hundreds of plates of steaming balsamic Brussels sprouts by week's end.

"With it being as busy as its going to be," he said,"we're going to go with a limited menu."

If you're just in the mood for a cold brew, you may be better off hitting the takeout window.

"We'll be selling beer out of the front window there, right on the street there on Friday or Saturday when it's festival-style downtown," Hardisty said.

It's all hands on deck at Churchill's in downtown Flint this week:

"This is huge, this is one of the big three of the year. we're going to do about five times we normally do for a weekend," he added.

The Friday night Cruise "N" Concert returns to downtown Flint, giving the restaurants out here something else to be excited about.

"I feel like that was one of the main reasons why people left last year," said server Kali Jackson, who works at the 501 Grill, "people stopped coming downtown so hopefully it'll bring more people down and a good turnout."

While you can still book a room at the Holiday Inn Express, that may not be the case come Friday:

"The reason why a lot of people they look to book here is because we're in the heart of downtown Flint," said General Manager Rita Alsalih. "It gets busy, we expect a lot of walk-ins."

Event organizers say businesses in the entire area benefit from the influx of visitors.

John Davies drove his 1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass 2,406 miles from Newark, California to Flint.

This week, he's staying in a local hotel and eating out.

"I flew my wife out," he said, "we're having a blast, we're going to cruises, driving the car...spending money."

Back to the Bricks Founder Al Hatch tells us every dollar spent during Bricks rolls over eight times.

The sound of Bob Haley, who drove in from Tuscon, Arizona, revving the engine of his 1966 Mustang also bodes well for the economy.

When asked if he was going to eat out this week and pump money into the local economy he replied, "Absolutely!"

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