The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Top-Notch Car Show

Michael James

Sandra Button the chairwoman of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

If you’re a car lover,  you may have considered hosting a gathering of fellow enthusiasts to discuss, socialize, marvel and bond over an appreciation of cars.

Car shows are not new to Canadians. Popular attractions such as the Canadian International Autoshow have reported annual attendance of about 330,000 car enthusiasts.

Bob Kavner showcased his 1955 Ford F100 at the Concours & Cocktails car show in Carmel Valley, Cailfornia at the Santa Lucia Preserve.
Bob Kavner showcased his 1955 Ford F100 at the Concours & Cocktails car show in Carmel Valley, California at the Santa Lucia Preserve. Images © James Raia

If you’re considering organizing and hosting a car show in your local area, the proper planning and execution can prompt an enjoyable, successful event.

Here are 10 guidelines for hosting a top-notch car show:

Define Your Goals And Audience

When organizing a car show, defining your goals and audience is crucial. Decide what type of cars you want to showcase and your target audience. If you want to showcase muscle cars, your audience may be older car enthusiasts who appreciate the history of these vehicles.

Fine art is tradition at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance car show
Fine art is a traditional offering at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance car show. Image courtesy of Concours de Elegance.

However, if you want to showcase modern sports cars, your audience may be younger car enthusiasts who appreciate speed and performance. Knowing your goals and audience will help you plan and execute a successful event.

Set A Budget

A sizable amount of capital is needed to organize and host a car show. The last thing you would want is to overspend. Setting a budget is crucial. It guides you on essential purchases. Additionally, determining your budget earlier in your planning stage ensures you allocate your funds appropriately.

When determining the budget, consider the cost of permits, insurance, marketing and entertainment. Try to secure sponsors or vendors to help offset the cost of the event and incorporate the commitments into the budget.

Choose The Right Location

The venue of your car show is another essential for success. Your venue should have ample space to accommodate all vehicles, attendees, restrooms and parking for attendees. Additionally, it’s vital to select a venue accessible and easy to find. Potential attendees may give up on the event if they can’t find its location.

The lineup of concept car at 2021 LA Auto Car Show included the Mullen Five. The electric sedan has been made yet.
The lineup of concept cars at the 2021 LA Auto car show included the Mullen Five. The electric sedan has been made yet.

Ideally, the venue should be in a central location. You should also ensure our location has adequate amenities, such as restrooms and shaded areas. It will keep attendees comfortable during the event.

Another factor to consider when selecting the right location is the general weather conditions. Depending on the location and time of year, the weather can be a major factor in the success of your car show.

Be sure to know the weather conditions in the area to ensure you take the right measures. If your preferred location has extreme heat during the time you’re planning an auto show, consider renting tents and canopies to provide shade for attendees and vehicles.

Promote Your Event

For your target audience to attend your car show, they need to know about it. You need an effective marketing strategy to promote your event. Fortunately, there are several ways you can promote your event. Consider placing an advertisement for the event in local newspapers and radio stations.

You should also consider implementing digital marketing strategies. Engage influential car lovers online to promote your event to its attendees. Create a website or Facebook event page to advertise the event and reach out to car clubs and forums to attract car enthusiasts. Making incentives such as early registration discounts will encourage people to register early.

Provide Entertainment

Providing entertainment is essential to keep attendees engaged throughout the event. You can offer activities such as music, food vendors, merchandise booths, and contests. You can also encourage socializing amongst the participants by fostering a sense of community.

You can do so by organizing activities such as group drives alongside the main event. Additionally, consider making a generator for tailgating available should attendees want to have little parties of their own while they enjoy the show.

Manage The Logistics

Managing the logistics of the event is critical to its success. You should set up an organized registration process for participants and a ticket booth for attendees. Create a layout for the cars and ensure enough space for attendees to walk around and admire the vehicles. Consider hiring security personnel to manage the crowd and ensure safety.

Choose The Right Judges

Selecting the right judges is essential if you plan to have awards or trophies. Select knowledgeable and unbiased judges who have prior experience.

Provide Incentives

Providing incentives such as trophies, cash prizes and certificates encourages car owners to participate. Consider creating unique categories, such as best paint or best restoration to showcase different aspects of the vehicles. Providing incentives can attract more participants and increase the event’s overall excitement

Work With Local Authorities

Depending on the location of your car show, you may need to obtain permits or work with local authorities to ensure compliance with regulations. Ensure you understand the requirements and work closely with authorities to ensure a smooth event. You may also want to engage your local police to offer assistance in providing security throughout the event.

Create A Post–Event Plan

Following up after the event is critical to gather feedback and improve future events. You can follow up with participants, attendees, sponsors and vendors. Use the feedback to improve future events and ensure your car show continues growing and evolving. Consider sending a survey to attendees and following up with a thank you email or social media post. Use the feedback to identify areas for improvement and make changes for the next event.

You can also use social media platforms to engage with attendees after the event by providing regular updates, engaging visuals from the car show, and promotional posts. Use hashtags and tagging to increase your reach and engage with your audience.

Content provided by The Weekly Driver News Service and additional news sources.

Article Last Updated: April 18, 2023.

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