At the Drive-In With Carson City Toyota
“The Nevada Day Parade is always a huge event,” says Jeff Campagni, general manager of Carson City Toyota. “Over the years, it’s gotten bigger and bigger. Everybody in town comes out for it and thousands come down from Reno, too. They shut down Main Street in front of the capital building for the parade, and all the bars and restaurants on the side streets are packed with people. It really brings the community together.”
Campagni, son of Carson City Toyota owner Dick Campagni, never missed the Nevada Day Parade when he was young. Even after he got older and moved away for a while, he and his friends made a habit of going home for Nevada Day.
“It’s just such a great time for socializing,” he says.
Like so many other events in 2020, Carson City’s big parade was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the community was determined to celebrate Nevada Day, so they got creative and came up with a safe alternative: a drive-in “Made in Nevada” film festival featuring movies filmed in Northern Nevada.
“We always look for new ways to support our community, especially during these hard times,” Campagni says. “When the Parade folks came to us with the idea for the film festival, I thought it was a really cool idea.”
The inaugural “Made in Nevada” film festival took place last October. Portions of all four films screened during the festival — “The Shootist,” “The Misfits,” “Sister Act,” and “The Muppets” — feature scenes filmed in iconic Nevada locations.
“One scene in the John Wayne film ‘The Shootist’ was even filmed in my friend’s house,” Campagni says.
In addition to funding the drive-in screenings, Carson City Toyota offered free festival tickets to anyone in the community who stopped by the dealership to pick them up. While there, visitors could also sign up for a chance to win a $100 gas card.
Campagni says the number of people who came through the dealership to pick up drive-in movie tickets was impressive, and the event was a huge success. And even though Carson City residents couldn’t participate in normal parade activities this year, they still got to come together — safely in their cars — to celebrate their state’s heritage in a unique way.
In many ways, Carson City Toyota has gone above and beyond to help their community during this difficult year. They offered discounts to essential workers and hosted two food drives, collecting over 11,000 pounds of food and more than $7,000 in cash.
“We were blown away by the way our community came together during these hard times,” Campagni says.
In addition to meeting the more practical needs of its community with food drives and emergency relief, Campagni says he was thrilled that Carson City Toyota could provide its city with a few nights of drive-in entertainment.
“With all the challenges of this year, the idea of coming together and safely celebrating Nevada Day seemed like a great opportunity and it was something we wanted to get behind,” he says. “We all know that celebrating our state on the last weekend of October is a time-honored tradition in Nevada, so it was a privilege to be able to sponsor these great made-in-Nevada movies.”