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City prepares to part ways with Hot Rods

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The Lockhart City Council will vote on officially removing Hot Rods and Hatters from the city’s  2019 plans on Tuesday night.

The annual car show and music festival has made its home in Lockhart for seven straight years, but its eighth installment will be 45 minutes southeast of town in Gonzales. The Gonzales City Council on Thursday night unanimously approved a resolution to award $17,000 in hotel/motel occupancy tax money to Hat Rod Productions, as well as in-kind donations to be determined later by Gonzales City Manager Tim Patek.

Hat Rod Productions frontman Joel Gammage was originally scheduled to appear before Lockhart City Council on Dec. 18 to iron out downtown street closure times. While city councilmembers on Nov. 20 denied Gammage’s request to close San Antonio Street to US 183 traffic — a move Gammage said he believed was necessary for safety and liability reasons — the council was set to consider Gammage’s request to close the square to traffic from 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1-10 a.m. Sunday, Feb.3.

The Lockhart City Council’s agenda for its Tuesday meeting was posted Friday with an action item to consider withdrawing its Nov.20 approval of street closures and in-kind services for Hot Rods and Hatters, which was originally scheduled for Feb. 1-2 in downtown Lockhart.

The agenda item appears to be just a formality. Lockhart mayor Lew White indicated the city was ready to move on without a festival that brought added recognition and business to Lockhart despite an at-times tumultuous relationship with some members of the community.

According to the Gonzales Inquirer, Gammage formally began the process to move to the event to Gonzales on Nov. 28. The Gonzales City Council’s decision Thursday night awarded him more funding than Lockhart approved as well as the street closures he wanted with the times he requested.

“I think we gave it our best shot,” Lockhart Mayor Lew White said. “It seems like Joel put all his marbles in closing San Antonio Street and he didn’t get it. He pulled out all the stops.

“TxDOT didn’t want (the closure), the staff didn’t want it and law enforcement didn’t want it … we wish him good luck with his event in Gonzales. If there’s an opportunity for us to work with him in the future, we’ll consider it.”

Read more about Hot Rods and Hatters’ move to Gonzales in the Dec. 20 Lockhart Post-Register.

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