We spend a lot of time at many car shows every summer and know what it takes to throw a great show after all these years.


A good show is run by people who understand the car guy philosophy because most of the organizers of successful shows are also car guys.


They understand why a vintage vehicle is important to the owners and how a car show connects them to the car hobby and other owners.





Location is a critical component of a successful car show. The most ideal location is Main Street in a small town where the old school architecture lends itself to the collection of vintage iron on the street.




Small towns tend to get behind a car show and turn the event into a community celebration. Main Street comes alive during a car show and the atmosphere is electric for visitors, locals and participants.




Another good choice is a park or greenbelt area for a car show. Car owners like the shade and lawn offered by these locations and will set up lawn chairs around their vehicles to enjoy the comfortable and cooler setting.




The least favorable choice is a parking lot in a commercial setting. A car show in a retail zone parking lot sucks the life out of it because the show is usually confined to a roped-off vintage vehicle jail in the midst of annoyed shoppers who see no value in the car hobby.




Instead they see the car show as a collection of people who are in their way and old cars that take up space in the parking lot.


Try to avoid commercial parking lots on a Saturday afternoon as a venue choice for a car show if you want to have a successful show. These shows rarely have a good vibe to them.




A successful car show is also built upon successful communication. Nobody will be there if they have not heard of your show and you need to get the message out early and as often as possible.




MyStarCollectorCar offers only one free advertising package and that freebie is our Car Show and Events section. This section reaches tens of thousands of people every month and we offer it to all non-commercial car show organizers free of charge.




Our biggest beef is the lack of communication with show organizers because many of them are tough to reach for show information. Human nature kicks in and they ignore our phone or email requests for show information until the 11th hour when we can only give them limited exposure on our MyStar events calendar.




Make sure we get the show info early and we can help give you unprecedented exposure to your show. Also, give a solid go-to contact link in your information with somebody who fields every question about the show. Too many shows have a shaky approach to communication and we end up fielding questions about their shows when all we do is list them on our Car Show and Events page.




Some more valuable advice: pick a date and run with that date every year for your show. You will start to develop a tradition and will build a bigger show. Moving a show around on the calendar every year will keep your show on the B, C, D, and eventually Z list for car guys.




Another component of success is how a club handles the entry fee. A high entry fee has even higher expectations from entrants because they want a return on their investment.




Most car guys are shrewd buyers when it comes their rides and want to get the best available price when they buy a vehicle or parts. We attend many shows and we hear plenty of negative feedback from car guys when they feel like they did not get enough value for their entry fee. The entry price chosen by the show organizers has nothing to do with us here at MSCC, but we are a lightning rod for dissatisfied car show customers.




We believe a modest entry fee is the best course of action for car shows unless they have a very generous supply of upscale prizes that soften the blow for car guys.




New cars in a car show are a concern for many old school car guys and we hear plenty of feedback about this issue. The organizers say they need the new cars as an extra revenue source and the old school car guys are less than flexible about the new rides.





The smartest and easiest solution is a car segregation policy that puts the new rides in one section and the old cars in another section at the same show. Most car shows are still primarily comprised of old rides because they are the real stars at every show, but a designated area with new muscle cars will draw in the next generation of young car guys.




Our segregation policy is a workable solution to the issue and only requires a firm approach by organizers to make it a successful policy that results in a better car show. In other words, make sure you enforce the policy to prevent a controversial mish-mosh of vintage and new rides at shows.




The only variable beyond the reach of organizers is the weather. Rain typically means a poor turnout, although a well-established show with a long history will weather (pun intended) the storm better than a new show.




Follow our advice and you will have a better show in 2017-weather permitting.    


Jim Sutherland


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