How to Put on a Local Car Show

Row of cars at a car show

As an Amazon Associate, Modded gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Car shows are the best way to enjoy all sorts of vehicles without having to spend the money to buy a new car. However, if you don’t have one that happens locally, you can find yourself driving for hours just to spend a little bit of time checking out a few new cars.

One solution to this is to set up your own local car show. If this is something you’d like to try, here are five tips to make it a little bit easier.

Choose a Date and Location

The first two things you need to consider are the date for your show and where you’d like to hold it. Your location can be as simple as a parking lot — as long as you get permission from the owner — or as elaborate as an auditorium, depending on your needs and budget.

It’s best to choose a date on a weekend or a holiday so people will have the time to enjoy your show. The further in advance you can plan your event, the more participants and visitors you are likely to have. Picking a date in advance also gives you more time to find a venue.

Ask for Permission, Not Forgiveness

They say it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, but not in this case. In addition to getting permission from your venue owner, you will also need to get permission from the local police department or municipality. Most of the time they’re going to be okay with it, but they need to know about the event so they can respond in case of emergency and shut down any roads if necessary.

Run Temporary Power

No matter what sort of car show you’re running, you’re probably going to need power. If you’re using a parking lot or another area that’s not customarily equipped for power, rig a temporary power set up to run your microphones, speakers, lights and any other equipment you need for a successful show. Running an extension cord from a nearby building can work, but for more remote locations, you’ll probably need a few generators to keep all the lights on.

Advertise the Event

There’s no point in having a car show if no one shows up. Once you’ve got your venue chosen, start spreading the word. Advertise through Craigslist or social media or pay for some ads in a local newspaper if you’ve got the budget for it.

Calling car dealerships could be a great idea, too. For dealerships, car shows are often free publicity and result in sales for them, so they’re usually happy to bring a few cars to the show — and to call all their car buddies and let them know about it, too.

Don’t Forget the Food

You can’t have a good car show without some food. While you’re promoting the event, start inviting out to some local food truck vendors. You can charge vendor fees, but if you want to throw together a free or cheap show, try inviting them for free — you’ll get plenty of takers, and they’ll be able to make some decent money selling their wares to the gathered car lovers.

Car shows are the perfect opportunity to bring car lovers together, and putting a show together yourself is relatively simple as long as you dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s. No matter the specifics of your event, make sure you get permission from your venue and local law enforcement — and don’t forget the food!