Your kids might think Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but when you’re a gearhead, there are few places you’d rather be than among friends, surrounded by beautiful machines. Car shows are great fun, and organizing one is no act of congress, but there are a few things to look out for.
With a little ambition, you can organize, promote and host your very own event. Of course, we all have that awful memory of the house party no one came to back in high school, or the one where the boys in blue had to make an appearance. Follow these simple tips and your car-fest should land somewhere comfortably in the middle of those two extremes.
Make a Plan
Impromptu car shows happen—for example in LA strip malls—but you’ve got more class than that, so do your car friends the favor of planning ahead. Begin by setting a date for the show. You’ll want to avoid any conflicts with major community events to get the best attendance. Consider the weather as well, car shows don’t go over too well in the rain or extreme heat.
The next thing you need to determine is the show’s location. You can host a show in any number of places. On a budget? A large parking lot will get the job done just fine, but if you’re aiming to add some character to the show, pick a local convention center or historic motoring location, like a drag strip or popular shop. Top priority here is making sure traffic in an out of the location will flow efficiently, and that people don’t have to travel too far to attend.
Now Comes all the Legwork
Ok, you’re committed, what next? With the date and venue established, you can begin the process of promoting the show and making arrangements. Spin up a social media campaign to gain attention from car fans and owners, and consider buying airtime on the local radio and TV stations to increase interest.
The venue owner isn’t the only party that needs to approve of your show. Let the local authorities know that you’ll be hosting the event well in advance, this way they can plan to have staff on hand should an emergency take place at the show. The police might also know of other events that could clash with the show.
If you’re holding the show in a location that’s open-air, you need to think about contracting things like bathroom facilities and power for the show. Depending on the venue, you may or may not need generators, lighting and air conditioning. It never hurts to ask local dealerships if they have new models they would like to showcase, either.
Entertainment is another crucial part of any show. You can accomplish this a number of ways, a PA system connected to an iPod can do the trick, but if you really want to get the crowd excited, consider hiring a DJ or MC. Some shows even have a stage where winners can address their public if their ride is selected for an award, you MCs can address the entire show.
Putting it All Together
With the logistics worked out, it’s time to get this show on the road! Set up a registration system for your participants, pre-registration should be an option since it will help you come up with some cashflow to purchase things like window stickers for the cars.
You should plan to provide each participant with these and perhaps a few promotional items to thank them for their involvement. It’s fairly common to see different categories on registration cards so that cars can be displayed with other like vehicles. If you have the space, you can plan a “cruise” as well, to showcase all of the diverse vehicles in the show.
If you’re going to judge each category, identify who your judges will be and be prepared with awards for the winning vehicles. Order trophies in advance, and if there will be an additional cash prize be sure to work it into your budget.
Enjoy the Show
See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Ok, so there’s a little bit of work involved, but you can enjoy some excellent cars and take pride in knowing it all happened because of you. Now go get ready for next year!