It's one of the most storied celebrations of the automobile in the world: the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic put the 70th running of the event on hold for a year.
"It was like canceling Christmas. And we had to do it kind of early, when things were unclear. And of course we've all learned a lot more since then, that it indeed was the right decision," said Sandra Button, the longtime chairman of the event.
And once this crown jewel was scuttled, the rest of what's known as Monterey Car Week - dozens of events attracting tens of thousands from around the globe - fell by the wayside too.
"Once the Pebble Beach Concours canceled, then all the other dominoes fell in the same direction," added Button.
But as with a lot of things in our world these days, virtual substitutes are trying to take away some of the sting for enthusiasts. The Petersen Automotive Museum has been hosting an online car week, with things like video tours of usually-hidden private collections.
And what about those splashy auctions? Gooding and Company isn't able to be the official on-site auction house at Pebble Beach this year, so they did an innovative virtual version called "Geared Online," hosted by auction house founder David Gooding.
And there's another aspect to Car Week that many forget about: charities. The Pebble Beach Concours alone has donated millions to local causes over the years, and that aspect will continue this year. In conjunction with the Concours, Lexus has donated a new LC500 Convertible as a raffle prize. Tickets are $100, they're only selling 3,000 of them and every penny goes to the Boys and Girls Club of Monterey County.
The Lexus is worth more than $100,000+.
"And on top of it we can support the Boys and Girls Club, and we still hope to leave a substantial sum in the community in 2020, even without the Pebble Beach Concours this year," said an optimistic Sandra Button.
So while everything's on hold for a year, the entire automotive world - with the ensuing millions in tax revenue - will once again descend upon California... next August.
Pebble Beach Concours Chairman Sandra Button is ready for Car Week to resume in 2021.
"We will get together again. The cars are waiting. Pebble Beach is ready. My team is ready. We're already working hard on the 2021 show," she said.
Monterey Car Week canceled for first time ever, some virtual events filling void
The COVID-19 pandemic put one of the automobile industry's most storied celebrations on hold for a year.