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What makes or breaks a car show?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by JGore99, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. JGore99
    Joined: Apr 12, 2010
    Posts: 48


    The title says it all. What makes or breaks a car show for ya'll? Just wondering. What are some of the best you've gone to and why were they the best? What were the worst and why?
  2. 31fordV860
    Joined: Jan 22, 2007
    Posts: 864


    LARS is always good ...this year was great...what makes or breaks a show?

    Makes- Flatheads, Rust, Primer, Gassers, Roadsters, Coupes....etc..

    Breaks- Billetheads...
  3. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,428

    from Tampa, FL

    Shade (seems to be more and more important to me every year!). Good food. A friendly and attentive staff that has most of the bugs worked out, which keeps the WTF factor way down. A well promoted show put on to high-lite the cars and the hobby. You can't do that in a vacume, which means holding it at a good location with local advertising / radio spots. A high vis location will draw drive-in or walk-in spectator traffic. Don't ya just hate those car shows where all the "spectators" are just the registered car owners walking around looking at each other's cars? Especially if you paid to enter? Worse, the show site is some facility so far off the beaten path that no one will ever notice it? I went to a church show a few year ago. No registration fee. The food was fantastic and FREE, too. But, their facility was in a heavily wooded area at least 50 yards off a well traveled two-lane road. That show might as well be on the moon. And, seriously, I doubt they held the show for any orther reason than to attract more members to their church.
    Later, Gary
  4. I think the best show I go to all year is the Mohican Model A Club's show at Wampsville (near Oneida) NY each fall. Big show, free for people to walk in, big flea market, big car corral, several food vendors including two spots run by the club, nothing's priced too bad, about the only disadvantage is the field they hold it on has no shade anywhere unless you bring it with you. But I also go as a flea market vendor (and I have to call this one a flea, it's about 50-50 car parts vendors versus people with no car parts at all). I don't know what brings people who show their cars off.
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  5. cheveey57
    Joined: Mar 11, 2010
    Posts: 677


    A good swap meet section with lots of parts dealers & SHADE.
  6. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,860

    Retro Jim

    A good diverse group of cars/trucks , a decent swap meet area , good food , music and yes with the heat we are having all over this summer , a place for people to get into some shade really helps . Maybe a building to sit and take a rest helps too . I always bring a tent and a couple chairs when I bring my car to a show and ask many people to stop under and take a break from the heat . That is also a good way to BS for a while .

    Retro Jim
    Joined: Feb 13, 2010
    Posts: 63

    from Virginia

    Weather, location, participation.
  8. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 17,240

    from Michigan

    Your a good man Jim!
  9. Jimmy Tee
    Joined: May 29, 2009
    Posts: 579

    Jimmy Tee

    Retro Jim just about covered it all. May I also add that it needs to be Billet Free and No Dry Dusty Dirt Roads.....
  10. Fifty5C-Gas
    Joined: Sep 1, 2003
    Posts: 1,428


    I just about stopped going to shows because im sick of seeing, rusty, ratty, primered cars (not primered unfinished cars but primered finished cars). So I would say thats what breaks it for me. What would make it for me is very limited of the above mentioned, some shade, good music, & nice swap meet area.
  11. MAKES: Good weather (beyond anybody's control, of course), a good well-defined charitable cause (I only participate in shows that support charitable causes), good publicity (especially in small towns served by a weekly paper, you need to cultivate a good relationship with the editor of your local paper--you're way ahead if the local paper is locally owned, which unfortunately ours is not), good relations with local businesses who will provide sponsorships and/or donate door prizes year after year, a variety of good food vendors, a good swap meet, some non-automotive vendors (arts and crafts, etc.) that appeal to spouses who are not that much into the cars, some kid activities such as moon walks, if any fire departments in the area have a vintage fire truck they can bring to your show, all kids love fire trucks, also many fire departments have fire safety displays/presentations for kids and are glad to have a venue to do that; good relations with other clubs in the area (you have to support their shows and cruises if you want them to support yours--sort of like what Yogi Berra said about funerals, "If you don 't go to other people's funerals, they won't come to yours."), any local charity that benefits from the show should help work and promote the show (takes a lot of stress off small clubs trying to do shows--if the American Legion's Empty Stocking Fund is going to be the beneficiary, the Legion guys need to help put on the show--I was a pastor for 20+ years, and car clubs are just like churches, 20% of the members do 80% of the work--the 20/80 rule pretty much applies to all voluntary human activity).

    Breaks: Absence of any of the above.
  12. justford
    Joined: Apr 14, 2008
    Posts: 173

    from KY

  13. big duece
    Joined: Jul 28, 2008
    Posts: 5,484

    big duece
    from kansas

    breaks--cars up to 1980
  14. Gnichols and retro jim said it best and to add, I really don't care about the plastic crap trophys as they are so impersonal, the clubs and individuals making thier own trophys show so much creativity these days, hats off to them! And good fellowship between clubs and NO BITCHIN! The "Hot Rod Gatherings" are where my heart is as I get older as well, no trophys, no fees, come and go as you please style events I think are a wonderful local community niche.
  15. johnny bondo
    Joined: Aug 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,547

    johnny bondo
    from illinois

    rockasillys, cars with tires over the beltline of the car, cars lower then my waist, slime green anything, orchabettys thinking they are pinups because they bought some dress and some red lipstick, stock 53 and 54 chevys spray bombed flat black without even frenching the headlights AT LEAST..., zombie themed anything, radial tires.... yuck. those dumb ass shocks with the covers taken off of them, yeah PS dudes, those look like a damn chicken leg on your axle. lol yeah i could go on all day lol

  16. I agree, back round music is one thing, but music so loud you can't talk to the person next to you is unacceptable. Face it, it's a car event, not a concert.
  17. Chevy55
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 406

    from Nebraska

    I go to three shows a year that have drags as part of the show. I love to run my car so this is what makes these shows really great. I realize this is not possible for all shows because of insurance etc. but it really gets the crowd into it.
  18. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

    Location, and cost makes a big difference to me. A car show in a hot parking lot that charges 25 bucks to get in for my car to be part of the attraction? I don't think so. 15 is about my limit. If it's in a nice park like setting that is a big plus. If they have food at reasonable prices, that's another big factor.

    We went to a show a few weeks ago. It was in a field but they fed us a pancake breakfast in the morning and a complete chicken dinner in the afternoon for less than 20 bucks for the day. Now that is a car show. Needless to say there was a very nice turn out. I felt like I was getting something instead of getting hosed.

    I love flea markets but they are getting pretty weak now a days. I did get a nice old style Mallory coil at the same show. The promoter has no affect on the flea market finds. That is just luck and timing. I got a top 40 award so that really made the day.
  19. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    from colorado

    Make or break?? The only 'break' would be if I drove up and they said "You can't come in here". :D

    I can't imagine staying away from a car show to sit at home just because of some shithouse rule or feature bothers me about any particular show. I learned a long time ago that simple minded people are in charge of a lot of things in life. To avoid them would be to join them in their folly.

    A car show is a social occasion for me and there isn't a car that is the owner is proud of that I wouldn't be ashamed to park beside. So what if his 'druthers differ from mine. Nothing can keep me away, but organizers that have too many rules narrowing down who can participate; they should take a lesson in not being so fuckin' narrow minded. :D
  20. Has-been DJ's blasting lame 1950's doo-wop music over crappy loud speakers is a huge turn off (Daytona Turkey Run).

    Also what sucks-

    Clueless show staffers. Please hold a staff meeting before hand so everyone is on the same page as far as parking, swap spaces, etc.
  21. I go to a couple of large GG shows and many smaller, local shows each year, but my favorite is held within 25 miles of my home! The Boulevard Rod Run and Doo Wop ( is held on the Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston, WV each year during early October. The city blocks off the four-lane street beside the river for four days of automotive bliss. The event offers seminars for the guys and tours for the women, flea market spaces, burn out competition, collector car sale area and a special "women's world" filled with crafts, fashions, etc. The registration fee is $25 for the entire event and gets you one t-shirt, two meal tickets to the Thursday night dinner (BBQ-yum), a dash plaque (mounted on a nice walnut board for hanging) and eligibility for some really nice door prizes. No formal judging, but the major sponsors choose their favorite cars to receive a nice custom-designed glass trophy. Last year there were over 800 cars and estimates for this year to exceed 1000 cars. The combination of awesome venue, variety of events, great music and excellent value for the money are what make a great show for me.

  22. thendrix
    Joined: Jul 19, 2009
    Posts: 157


    For me, attitude will ruin a car show in a hurry. The whole mines better than yours, I now more than you, insult you rather than teach you so I can feel like a badass thing is really aggrivating. I don't like to see anybody sitting on the side of the road but for folks like this it doesn't bother me quite as bad.

    What makes a car show? A bunch of old hot rodders and rum runners sharing stories and lessons.
  23. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,733


    For me, its location, cost, food and entertainment.

    1. Good location for parking and being able to get out whenever you want.
    2. I can see $25 or less for a show.
    3. I like people watching so I find the fun shows have rockabilly and pin-ups.
    4. Good bands (there's a show I'm going to and I YouTube'd the bands. I couldn't stand their music so I'll park as far away as I can from the bandstand).
    5. If there are food vendors, decent food.
  24. BISHOP
    Joined: Jul 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,572


    I like those cry baby dolls and fake food hanging on the side glass. Those folks rule.
  25. I have to agree that I am SOOOO tired of hearing the same old 50's doo-wop music over and over and over and over.... Especially when you have to shout over it. I found some rockabilly stuff, some 60's music about hot rods and cars, and even some cool blues music (Buddy Guy, etc.) before I DJ'ed our local cruise-in one night when the regular guy couldn't make it and man I got a LOT of compliments!!!

    As an aside, every year our Mopar club used to caravan to a show that SUCKED in Richmond VA (the club prez and his wife & family ALWAYS swept the awards ceremony in every class that they had cars in) but we'd always get there and back on the scenic little 2 lane country roads. The ONLY reason that we went was that we'd stop & trade cars with the other guys every 20 minutes or so and you'd eventually get to drive most everyone else's car before the day was over AND get good photos / video of your own car going down the road. WAY cool!!! So, it seems that the drive there & back can be more fun than the actual show sometimes!

    In the late 90's we used to organize a fun run to look at the leaves in the fall while driving our cool old cars, trucks & motorcycles. ANYONE and EVERYONE was invited, from the Hot Rods, primered 6 cylinder Dodge Darts, to the Hemi Challengers, trucks, rat rods, etc... and we had a blast! The BEST part was that the wives who normally wouldn't go to a regular "static" car show or to the drags with their husbands ended up LOVING riding in the cars & looking at the other cars and the scenery and most of them even asked when we were doing the NEXT one!!! Think about having a DRIVING event with NO judging, NO trophies, etc. Just a 100 - 150 mile loop of nice 2 lane roads through the country, and end up at a nice little restaurant for some dinner & bench racing. Printing out GOOD text directions AND copies of marked maps will really help the participants too. We charged a nominal fee to cover expenses and that was it.

    On the subject of trophies, I personally don't care if I EVER get another trophy! I got a whole shelf full of 'em... want some??? I go to meet people, get ideas for my cars & trucks, to support the charity, and to hang out with my friends. Having FUN is what it's all about. I HATE having to argue with a guy for an hour after the show why we didn't have a whole class for "red pro street Novas with superchargers" when, hey!... I just noticed that YOU trailered in a red pro street Nova with a supercharger!!!

    We've done trivia contests (old parts wired to a pegboard and you had to identify year & model), scavenger hunts - "First person to bring me an 1157 light bulb gets this T-shirt..." (instead of the "Car #29, you just won a T-shirt") and one year when we were out of ideas, we had "tricycle races" - Stand on the back and push the bike along with your foot and station someone with a stopwatch at the "finish line" and the fastest time all day wins a pile of door prizes! We had people lining up to do it!!!

    But you have to advertise the hell out of it way beforehand, and like another poster said, don't have it in the middle of a wide open field way in the back 40 of someone's farm! You want spectators and to garner as much of a donation for your charity as you can, AND to get some young kids interested in hot rods and cool old cars. Have your event near a major road, with some shade if possible, and even park a couple of cars right up as close to the road as you can to snag the passers-by. Play some cool music, not too loud, and keep the atmosphere about HAVING FUN.

    Good Luck!!!
  26. mt shasta steve
    Joined: Mar 26, 2010
    Posts: 270

    mt shasta steve

    I went to a show in Grants Pass Or. this past weekend that was best show I have been to in years. On grass next to the Rogue River, with cars parked in shaded picnic area. About 350 cars, and mostly traditional hot rods.
    Worst show has been Kool April Nights in Redding Ca. It has gotten so large that an old fart like me can't see it all. You have to park down town and ride the rapid transit out to the convention center. Once there it is more of a circus than a hot rod show. No shade and no place for old farts to sit down.
  27. unclerichard
    Joined: Jun 30, 2005
    Posts: 235

    from Michigan

    There used to be a real good one here up north a ways, until the jacked up 4x4 pickups with the big tires, loudspeakers and Confederate flags started crowding in there with the '72 and back crowd. The same town has a show for them too--later in the summer. I always wondered how many hot rods invaded that one. I am too pissed off to go back and see.

    The shows I enjoy the most are ones where you can talk to like minded people who didn't just pull out the checkbook to be there and do not have to worry about who is gonna key your car while you are out looking around.
  28. Cost. I like to bring my own cooler, I don't mind paying to bring in my car, but I don't want to spend $5 every time I get thirsty or hungry. And I prefer hearing my old favorite tunes over some band I never heard of; I rarely pay attention to the bands.
  29. ugotpk
    Joined: Nov 3, 2008
    Posts: 503


    You know this is a really good question!! I think the shows are just running into each other with the same old thing. We like to hang around with friends and shoot the crap for most of the day. But it sure would be nice if someone put together stuff to do. Like Pinstipe Class. Engine Basics, A booth just for tech questions. The body man tips. A horse shoe pit. I would like to hear your ideas on this thread. So we can build a show with the best stuff to get invloved in. UGOTPK
  30. JALOPYRAMA...Annapolis National Guard Armory, Maryland Oct.23rd...Mike knows how to do a show! Has it all including Music, Pinstripers, vendors, good food, low entry fee, benefit auction 1962 & earlier, inside and out display.And this year is number 7 :D!!!!!!

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