By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Twin Cities will be a hot spot this weekend, and we’re not just talking about the weather.

There are several festivals and events taking place that will draw thousands of people from across the country.

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The Twin Cities Pride Festival kicked off its 40th year Friday night, and the 39th annual ‘Back to the 50’s’ car show began Friday morning and will run all weekend at the State Fairgrounds.

Car enthusiast Dale Sohlstrom says the car show is a sight to see.

“There’s cars here you won’t see anywhere else that you see here,” said Sohlstrom.

All of the cars are 1964 or older. There are different makes and models, shapes and sizes, and they will be on display all weekend long.

Jerry Dixey, front man for the Amsoil Street Rodder Road Tour, loves the event.

“Oh, we have a riot. I’ve been doing it for 17 years,” said Dixey.

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He picked up his 1940 Ford Coup in Los Angeles, and after a few stops, made it to the Fairgrounds. Forty other cars have followed his tour along the way. And the State Fairgrounds happens to be his favorite stop.

“This is the finest car show in the United States. And you are talking to someone who in 17 years has seen them all. There’s nothing that compares to the grounds, the number of cars, the quality of cars, and any event where you can get pork chop on a stick is a plus,” said Dixey.

While the car show celebrates 39 years, Twin Cities Pride is celebrating 40 years. Executive director Dot Belstler says attendance has steadily grown through the years.

“In 1972 there were 100 people here. Now, we expect probably 300,000 – especially with the marriage amendment,” said Belstler.

Pride kicked off Friday with a beer dabbler that brought in 40 craft beer vendors and food trucks. With a Kelly Rowland concert Saturday night and a Pride parade on Sunday morning, the 40th celebration could set an attendance record.

Both these events will bring in millions of dollars. Twin Cities Pride will bring in about $12 million over the course of the weekend.

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Kids get in free at the car show, otherwise it costs $10.

John Lauritsen