How to Throw a Car Show in 10 Steps

1980s DeLorean at a FunFlicks car show

Car shows are excellent opportunities for showcasing unique vehicles within the community, supporting local businesses, and bringing car enthusiasts together for a great time. With proper planning and support, organizing a car meet is easier than it may seem. For over two decades, we've helped people across the country host outstanding, large-scale car shows and drive-ins. Follow our 10 steps on how to throw a car show and bring memorable recreation to your area.

1) Organize a Coordination Team

Throwing a car meet on your own can be challenging, but a dedicated coordination team can make planning much easier. Find passionate individuals, ideally with experience in hosting or attending car meets. Key leadership roles may include head director, marketing chief, lead accountant, logistics manager, vendor director, activities coordinator, and head of security. These leaders should supervise workers or volunteers who also contribute to the event's success. Choose your coordination team months in advance and hold regular meetings to plan and achieve your goals effectively.

2) Select a Location, Date, and Time

Ensure ample space is reserved to accommodate the anticipated crowd size, parked vehicles, vendor booths, and any other required areas. This allows guests to comfortably enjoy the event with plenty of room to explore the car show and participate in activities. Hosting the car meet on weekends is ideal since people are typically off work and available during those days. Additionally, consider scheduling the event during warmer seasons to take advantage of the nice weather.

Car show in a parking lot

How to Throw a Car Show in a Parking Lot

Organizing a car show in a parking lot offers opportunities for showcasing vehicles, setting up vendor equipment on flat surfaces, and ensuring convenient vehicle access. Whether you're considering a private or public parking lot, obtaining permits from relevant authorities and securing landowner approval are crucial steps. Contact your local city's recreation department for detailed guidelines on organizing a car show and fulfilling necessary requirements.

Car show at the fairgrounds

How to Throw a Car Show at the Fairgrounds

Fairgrounds may provide expansive spaces for vehicle displays, essential amenities like restrooms, and the infrastructure needed for large-scale activities such as presentations, concerts, or races. They serve as ideal venues to unite the community in celebrating local achievements. To book an event or secure necessary permits, begin by reaching out to your city office.

Car show at a park

How to Throw a Car Show at a Park

Parks offer expansive space and picturesque backdrops, perfect for hosting car shows. Seek out a large sporting field capable of accommodating attendees, vehicles, vendor stations, and equipment. The surrounding greenery and open skies create a stunning ambiance, providing excellent photo opportunities that capture the essence of the event. Additionally, parks typically provide amenities such as restrooms, benches, and access to electricity, enhancing convenience for organizers and participants alike. To secure the venue for your car show, reach out to your local parks and recreation department for reservation details.

3) Define a Purpose and Theme

When planning your car show, it's essential to clarify your intent. Are you aiming to unite the community in support of local businesses? If so, consider hosting a raffle with grand prize gift cards to local auto shops, mechanics, or restaurants. Maybe, your goal is to support a charitable cause. In that case, transform your car show into a major fundraising event by selling tickets, offering vintage car rides, and providing VIP opportunities to meet guest speakers in exchange for donations. Defining your purpose and theme will significantly aid in generating more ideas and planning effectively.

Michelugas beverage stand

4) Invite Vendors

Invite local vendors who’ll enhance the event with their services or that share a passion for cars. These businesses can set up booths where customers may learn about their products and make purchases.

Concession Trucks

Providing concessions at your event is essential for ensuring attendee satisfaction. An easy way to accomplish this is by hiring concession trucks, which bring delicious local food and beverages directly to everyone.

Mechanics and Body Shops

Mechanics and body shops would greatly benefit from having a booth at your car meet, providing a platform to showcase their skills, educate customers, and sell their products to fellow car enthusiasts. Encourage them to enter or sponsor their finest vehicles in a best car competition, attracting more attention to their business.

Car Dealerships

Car dealership stations offer excellent opportunities for interaction with auto enthusiasts and showcasing their finest vehicles for sale at a car meet. Customers may see the vehicles up close and even test drive them. Additionally, local dealerships can enhance customer relations by engaging in merchandising, hosting workshops, and performing mass marketing at the event.

Car Clubs & Groups

Welcoming attendees to join car enthusiast clubs at your car meet is an excellent opportunity to strengthen these groups by bringing together more individuals with shared interests. Incorporating various car show booth ideas, clubs can set up an area where attendees can learn about the group, join online communities, and connect with fellow enthusiasts.

Merchandising Stores

Stores selling miniature vehicle antiques, racing-inspired clothing, RC car electronics, racing video games, and other car-related items can greatly benefit from having a booth at your car meet. This provides an excellent opportunity to market their brand and sell products directly to car enthusiasts.

5) Organize the Activities

Hosting a variety of engaging activities that everyone can participate in greatly enhances the enjoyment of your car meet.

Classic vehicles lined up at a car show

Best Car Competition

A car competition should be the main activity at your event, encouraging local vehicle owners to participate and attracting visitors to check out or enter their own rides. It also offers a great opportunity to raise funds to support the event or other organizations. Sell tickets for participants to enter, and allow guests to sign up beforehand by submitting an online form with their contact information, vehicle make, model, year, and photos. Keep things interesting with various award categories highlighting unique aspects of each car, such as:

  • Best Vehicle
  • People's Favorite Ride
  • Most Exotic Car
  • Coolest Paint Job
  • Most Classic Ride
  • Best Truck
  • Best Muscle Car
  • Best Sports Car
  • Best Motorcycle
  • Best Sound System

5 Car Show Prize Ideas

Boost excitement by rewarding the winners of each category with prizes such as:

  • A trophy engraved with the won vehicle category and year
  • Free passes to a nearby go kart racing facility
  • Gift cards to local auto shops, mechanics, or restaurants
  • A vehicle care package including car fresheners, wax, and other quality products
  • Tickets to a NASCAR, Formula 1, or any local racing event
FunFlicks drive-in/car show event

Drive-In Movie Night

The fun doesn't have to end when the sun goes down at your car show event. Easily transform the area into an open-air theater with drive-in movie event rentals from your local FunFlicks®. We're committed to preserving the charm of the nostalgic 1950’s drive-in while incorporating modern technologies to enhance the experience for today's audiences.

Guests can relax in their vehicles, enjoying the audio transmitted directly to their radios, creating an immersive entertainment experience. Not only will they hear the film perfectly from within their cars, but they also won't miss any action on our giant inflatable screens. Watch the crowd in awe as the display rises in minutes, towering over everyone! Professional event technicians ensure a smooth experience by handling setup and teardown and staying onsite for the entire event.

Car Themed Movie Ideas

Click a Poster to Purchase a DVD/Blu-ray

Movie Licensing

To screen movies in public spaces like parks, schools, or businesses, obtaining proper licensing is essential. In the United States, this typically involves acquiring a nontheatrical movie license, which grants the legal right to show films publicly. You can purchase this license to ensure compliance and the lawful screening of your desired film to an audience. For availability and details regarding specific films, visit the FunFlicks® Movie Licensing page.

FunFlicks Mario Kart party with an LED trailer

Virtual Racing Tournament

Bring the excitement of racing to everyone by hosting a video game competition at your car show. Simply provide a console, enough controllers, and rent an LED screen for high-resolution viewing at any time of day. FunFlicks® offers professional and affordable LED Trailers & Video Walls across the United States. Similar to our projector screen services, an event technician will set up, manage, and tear down the equipment.

Games like Mario Kart 8, Forza Horizon 5, and Gran Turismo 7 are perfect for tournament-style play. Allow contestants to enter a bracket, with a grand prize for the champion. This will entice more people to enter the races, providing a perfect opportunity to raise money by selling entry tickets.

Classic Porsche ride

Exotic Vehicle Rides

With exotic vehicles at your event, offer participants the chance to cruise around with the driver. This provides a unique opportunity to showcase exceptional cars, boosting their reputation for the competition while also raising money by selling tickets for the rides.

Inside of a Ram truck

Dealership Test Drives

Local car dealerships can greatly benefit by offering test drives at your car show. Car enthusiasts attending the event are an ideal audience, eager to experience the latest vehicles firsthand. This creates opportunities for immediate and future purchases. Dealerships can also capitalize on the event by offering promotions, attracting more customers, and generating positive brand exposure within the community.

6) Provide Entertainment

In addition to engaging activities that allow guests to actively participate, offer laid-back entertainment for everyone to enjoy throughout the event.

Fans watching XGAMES competition on a FunFlicks LED screen

Live Racing

If live racing events are happening during the meet, attract spectators by showcasing the race on a jumbotron screen! FunFlicks® LED Trailers make it easy with event technicians who can set up the display at your location in under 20 minutes, offering an ultimate all-day viewing experience. Featuring phenomenal high-definition imaging and powerful sound, the audience will feel fully immersed in the racing action, as if they were trackside watching the cars zoom by.

Band performing on stage

Live Music

Live music at a car meet elevates the overall ambiance, allowing music lovers and car enthusiasts alike to enjoy the talents of local performers. It draws a larger crowd and entices guests to stay longer, creating more opportunities for interaction and business for vendors. Additionally, it ensures the auto show remains lively by providing entertainment during breaks between activities.

Classic car in front of a giant FunFlicks inflatable screen

Vehicle Workshops

Provide valuable educational opportunities for car enthusiasts through workshops led by automotive engineers, race drivers, car club leaders, and other industry professionals. These sessions serve as an excellent platform for enthusiasts to engage with peers and experts alike, sharing knowledge and building relationships within the automotive community.

7) Acquire Proper Permits

Once you've planned all the activities and entertainment for your car show, it's crucial to secure the necessary permits. Start by consulting your local city management for guidance on the specific permits required.

Depending on the event's location, you may need a venue permit to legally reserve the space. Other common permits include those for food service, alcoholic beverages, and fire safety compliance. If your event extends into the evening, noise ordinances may apply, necessitating a permit for activities like a drive-in movie or concert. Additionally, showing a movie in a public space requires a non-theatrical movie license to avoid potential fines and penalties for non-compliance.

8) Promote the Event

Effectively market your event well in advance using online advertising, particularly through social media. Create a dedicated event profile that highlights key details such as the theme, location, start time, and other pertinent information in clear, engaging posts. Engage with potential participants by direct messaging local car groups, dealerships, mechanics, and other relevant vendors. Complement your digital efforts with physical advertising through newspaper ads, posters, and flyers to maximize visibility. Utilize all available avenues to successfully attract attendees to your event.

9) Arrange the Area

Once the event layout is finalized and permits are secured, it's time to begin setting up the location. Before attendees arrive, meticulously arrange the area by clearly delineating parking spaces for vehicles and ensuring straightforward access routes. Allocate ample space for each vendor to set up comfortably before the event begins. Facilitate seamless communication among coordination team members using walkie-talkies, with designated leaders stationed at key areas. If there's an entry fee, ensure the ticket booth and surrounding fencing are set up effectively to facilitate easy attendee entry.

10) Clean Up the Location

As guests start to depart at the end of the event, ensure a thorough cleanup by guiding vehicles out of the area, collecting trash, and assisting vendors in packing away their equipment. Maintaining a clean environment not only enhances the event's positive public image but also demonstrates respect for the property owner. This proactive approach supports the possibility of hosting future events at the venue, fostering a cooperative relationship with the community and venue management alike.

Car Show Event Rentals

FunFlicks® Inflatable Movie Screen Rentals

Inflatable movie screen rental drive-in

FunFlicks® inflatable movie screens are professional quality at an affordable price. There's a size for everyone, whether you're throwing a massive film festival with thousands in attendance or a small birthday with family at your house. To make sure everything runs smoothly, a local FunFlicks® event technician will arrive at your location on time, set up the screen, oversee the technology, and pack it all away at the end of the screening. Booming high-definition sound, crystal-clear laser projection, and a larger-than-life display are all included when you book an event with us.

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Backyard 16'
12'x7' Display
100 Guests
20 Cars

Premiere 21'
16'x9' Display
250 Guests
50 Cars

Blockbuster 26'
20'x12' Display
500 Guests
75 Cars

Elite 32'
26'x15' Display
750 Guests
100 Cars

Epic 40'
30'x17' Display
1500 Guests
150 Cars

Xtreme 50'
40'x22' Display
3000 Guests
250 Cars

FunFlicks® LED Screen Rentals

LED screen rental event among palm trees

FunFlicks LED screens are perfect for day or night display in almost any environment. Utilizing electroluminescent technology, our LED screens generate light effectively at any time of day. Each panel is rated IP65, meaning they are both rain and dustproof. Day or night, rain or shine, you get to decide when the magic happens. All of our mobile LED trailers have onboard generators for portable power. Therefore, no power supply is needed. Similar to our inflatable screens, our fleet of LED screens comes in a variety of dimensions for a variety of crowd sizes. Local event technicians across the country are available to bring our LED trailers anywhere for you to enjoy video games, live sports, movies, advertisements, or almost everything else!

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8'x5' LED Trailer
75 Guests
15 Cars

12'x7' LED Trailer
100 Guests
20 Cars

15'x8' LED Trailer
250 Guests
50 Cars

17'x10' LED Trailer
500 Guests
75 Cars

23'x13' LED Trailer
750 Guests
100 Cars

Purchase Movie Licensing with Angel Studios for your FunFlicks Event!

Angel Studios, a premier independent media enterprise and film distribution powerhouse, is dedicated to seamlessly delivering outstanding, freshly released, and family-centered entertainment to communities across the United States.