‘Pontiac is kind of just been like on the back burner’: Businesses ready for busy Motor Bella weekend

Big crowds expected in Pontiac

Pontiac businesses get a much-needed boost this weekend during Motor Bella.

PONTIAC, Mich. – It’s a big weekend in Pontiac with large crowds expected at Motor Bella, this year’s outdoor version of the auto show.

Businesses in Pontiac have been waiting for this very moment to prove how much of an underdog they really are.

“We really are the forgotten city. Detroit has had their comeback, Flint is having their comeback and, you know, Pontiac is kind of just been like on the backburner,” Marijayne Renny, a board member for Main Street Pontiac, said.

Motor Bella is expected to bring thousands of people to Pontiac. Downtown businesses like Fillmore 13 Brewery recognize that people will be in the area for more than just a look at the auto industry.

“As soon as they started talking about bringing the auto show to the M-1 concourse, it was, ‘OK, what are we doing?’” Head brewer Andrew Poehlman said.

They’re pulling out all the stops.

“It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation. We prepared a special menu,” Poehlman said.

The same goes for Exferimentation Brewing Company next door.

“We have a new beer coming out tomorrow (Saturday), so we’re doing a lot of new beer releases,” manager Julia Muzicuka.

They debuted another beer on Wednesday (Sept. 22). The rain did put a damper on the start of the week, but on Friday (Sept. 24) the business was booming.

“This morning I already noticed we had a line at the door before we even opened for lunch. So yeah, it’s been a nice steady pickup,” Poehlman said.

Both breweries opened within the last five years. For those who haven’t been to Pontiac in a while, this weekend is a chance for them to catch up on what’s new or what they may have missed while away.

“This year has definitely been us proving ourselves. We’ve done a lot of like venues and live music and stuff and it’s just been nice to have people come back down here and they’re like, ‘Oh, wow, you guys are here, there’s stuff happening,’ like it feels really good to be acknowledged,” Muzicuka said.

The goal is Motor Bella is just the beginning when it comes to major events in the city.

“Pontiac needs more. Ever since we lost some of the events like the Arts, Beats and Eats, to have more events, to have more people from Detroit, suburbs coming back down to Pontiac, to see how great Pontiac is, is more than exciting,” Poehlman said.

Read: More Motor Bella coverage


About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.