Have you ever thought about holding your own car show? We’re not just talking about having a few of your Facebook Friends meet in a parking lot, we’re talking about putting on a real show that people will want to attend. It takes time, planning, and a lot of enthusiasm, but can be worth it if you pull it off. It can also be a great fundraiser for your company or organization.
It’s not impossible to put on your own car show. If you’re planning on it, you’ll want to follow these seven steps:
- Build Your Blueprint — You wouldn’t just go to work building a car without a good plan, and that’s what you’ll need to host a great event. Choose a date that doesn’t conflict with other events, build a team you can trust and create a budget for the show.
- Set the Stage — If you are a business owner with services to promote, sometimes the best option is your own backyard. Golf courses, parking lots, drag strips and even open fields are other great locations for a car show. Always consider how cars and attendees will get in and out of the venue, and don’t forget about safety of the stage. This might be the place where you want to hire an expert to help out.
- Make It Street Legal — You might enjoy bragging about how your ride’s technically not “streetable,” but if you want to attract a crowd, contact your local police department and the venue owners to make sure you have permission and all necessary permits. The last thing you want is to be shut down before anyone even arrives. Also, have first-aid and fire extinguishers on hand.
- Get Revved Up — Use high- and low-tech solutions to promote: create a website or social media page, post flyers where car owners hang out and engage local radio and TV broadcasters. Get the word out on car forums and automotive Facebook groups too. You can even contact local dealerships, who can promote to their customers and might even lend a cool new model to your lineup in exchange for some free advertising.
- Set the Starting Grid — Encourage participants to register in advance so you can plan out parking. If you will allow on-site registration, make sure you have extra space in the planned layout, as more people will show up than registered. Data from registration can be used to create individual placards for show cars.
- Keep the Crowd Well Fueled — Have food and water available, as well as a way to play music — you’ll need a PA system for announcements. Ask vendors to donate raffle prizes in place of participation fees, and have some cool show swag like T-shirts available. You can encourage people to show their cars by including a free shirt or hat when they register.
- Pick a Winner — You don’t have to be restricted to a single winning car. In fact, we encourage you not to. Have fun and invent some categories that are funny and different. Make sure you build or purchase trophies early and know who your judges will be.
If you need some inspiration, check out the great work done at SEMA, The Detroit Autorama and Hot August/Import Nights. Car shows have been a part of American culture for nearly a century, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just remember — a little planning goes a long way!
Scott Huntington is a writer and car fanatic from Harrisburg, PA.