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Auto shows attract millions of motoring enthusiasts with yesterday’s classics and tomorrow’s visions
By Phil Willen
Let’s face it, America loves the automobile. More than just a means of going from point A to point B, our cars become extensions of who we are. We enjoy fond memories of our first car, even if it was our parents’ hand-me-down clunker or a rust-bucket we scraped to buy with after-school odd-job and babysitting money. We eagerly anticipate the arrival of the new models each year, and flock to classic car shows to once again view the most-coveted sets of wheels from years past.
Classic Car Shows & Races
If revisiting the great classics of years gone by is what tickles your throttle, check out some of the many antique and classic car shows across the country. The place to see classic and antique cars for sale and show in the Golden State is the recurring Pomona Swap Meet and Car Show, held on dates throughout the year at the Los Angeles County Fair and Exposition Complex. Upcoming meets are scheduled for March 8, April 26, June 7, August 16, October 18 and December 6. For more information, call 714-538-7091 or visit pomonaswapmeet.com.
Across the country, roll into the Memorial Day Weekend Car Show and Flea Market in Norwich, New York on May 23-24. Over 1000 vehicles, including cars, tractors, motorcycles and military vehicles, will be on display at the Norwich Fairground. For more information, visit http://local.aaca.org/raocc. For more antique and car show information, visit the Antique Auto Club of America website at aaca.org.
While it’s fun to stroll among classy chassis of years past, what could be better than to see them up close and in action at a world-class race track built within a campground? That’s Laguna Seca, a year-round campground that on scheduled weekends plays host to classic car races. In the middle of August, the Monterey Historic Automobile races host classic sports and race cars from every era. Park your motor home, camper or trailer on an overlook next to the track and watch everything from a 1904 Ford to a late model Ferrari competing in their respective classes. But the real show is in the paddock area, where you can roam around, see the cars up close and personal, and talk with the owners and/or drivers. Major car makers also have displays of their latest goodies for your viewing pleasure.
As an added bonus, the Concourse De Elegance at Pebble Beach is that same weekend, a short distance away. It’s where the elite bring their restored classics, some worth millions of dollars, to vie for that best in class blue ribbon. Rolls Royce, Bugatti, Delahaye, Franklin, Duesenbergand many, many more machines from ancient aristocracy are on display. Get information by emailing [email protected] or call 831-622-1700 or 831-622-9100.
New Car Shows
Because human needs, wants and means are so diverse, car makers all over the world manufacture an unending array of what they feel will fit our particular niche. Chevrolet alone has over 50 different models to choose from. Going to a new auto show gives you a chance to see what engineers and designers have conjured up in an attempt to seduce you into trading in that old bucket of bolts for something newer,bigger and more powerful. Or, in this era of roller coaster gas prices, smaller and more economical. Hybrids, a combination of gas engines and electric motors are the hot ticket these days, but you will also see futuristic concept cars that may never grace a dealer’s showroom. To see the latest designs and innovations on wheels, cruise in for the Chicago Auto Show, February 13-22 at McCormick Place (313-262-1040); the New York Auto Show, April 11-19 at Jacob Javits Convention Center (800-282-3336, autoshowny.com/show); the Los Angeles Auto Show December 4-13 at Los Angeles Convention Center (310-444-1850, laautoshow.com), or the North American International Auto Show held each January at the Cobo Center in Detroit (248-643-0250, naias.com).
While the major new car shows take place in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, there are shows to introduce new models in many locations around the country. For information, visit naias.com or call 313-262-1040.
A Show for Any Interest
Shows and expositions for virtually any area of interest can be found across the country. Attending in your RV is usually ideal, since most show venues offer plenty of parking, making it easy to return to your coach for a relaxing break or a hot meal rather than typical show fare of hot dogs and nachos. If the venue prohibits overnight RV parking on-site, parks or campgrounds can usually be found within a reasonable driving distance. Wherever your interests lead you, it’s your good fortune to have the means to turn the key and take off in chase of that great adventure in your RV.
RV & Outdoor Shows
Already owning an RV doesn’t deter us from wanting to see the latest and greatest the industry has to offer; in fact it whets our interest. There are shows around the country where not only can we tempt ourselves with bigger, fancier models that have more gadgets, but also see must-have items to buy for our wonderful wheeled abode. RV shows abound around the country, particularly during the early part of the year. Wear your walking shoes because there’s much to see and acres to see it on!
Along with shiny class A’s, towables and slide-ins to check out, there are vendors hawking their wares. Want to find an RV show near you? Try agievents.com/, rvbasics.com/rv-lifestyle/RV-Show-Directory.html.
Tying in to the recreation theme are the shows dedicated to the great outdoors. Here you’ll see not only RVs, but all manner of things related to outdoor living, including fishing, hunting, hiking, camping and boating paraphernalia. Check out fishing demonstrations, camping information, boating resources and a lot more. Usually there will be camping facilities nearby.Calling itself one of the largest is the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show®, February 7-15, 2009, at the State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA. West of the Mississippi, the Bighorn Outdoor Adventure Show in the Pacific Northwest is March 19th - 22nd, 2009 at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds in Spokane, Washington.
A good source of show information is great-lakes.org/sports_shows.html. It lists shows from Alaska to Wisconsin, and at locations in other countries. You can also get information by phoning 800-327-7322.
Humans and dogs have had a symbiotic relationship since the dawn of time, when canines figured out it was in their interest to cultivate a working relationship with people. While many breeds of dogs still work at rounding up sheep or cattle, guarding property or guiding people bereft of vision or hearing, the vast majority are part of our families. Indeed, vast industries that cater to pets cater to our regard for them as family members.
One of the most widely known dog shows is the annual Westminster Kennel Club extravaganza held yearly in the Big Apple. Breeds of all sorts, from the exotic to the everyday working breed are trotted around by their handlers. The WKC show dates back over 132 years and is so popular that the event is televised. This year’s show is February 9-10, 2009 at Madison Square Garden New York, New York. For information, visit westminsterkennelclub.org/ or call 212-213-3212.
America has always loved horses, as witnessed by the popularity of western movies, horse racing and equestrian competitions. Are you an equine admirer? Then head for a horse show!
Horse shows come in many flavors, such as sport, western (herd them doggies!), dressage (fancy moves) and more. You’ll witness riding and roping at western shows; dressed-to-the-nines horse and rider at dressage competitions and steeplechase, or horses jumping over obstacles at sport shows.
A great place to see horses at work, the Grand National Rodeo takes place at the famous Cow Palace in the city by the bay, San Francisco. Usually taking place in April, the 2009 date was yet to be announced at press time. A livestock show is set for April 1-5. Find more information at grandnationalrodeo.com/horse_show.htmlor by calling 415-404-4111.
Nearly 63 years ago, the Del Mar National Horse Show began as part of the San Diego County Fair. It has since blossomed to become a series of prestigious events, marked by three competitions. Western Week runs April 16-19; Dressage Week April 23-26 and Hunter/Jumper Week April 28-May 3 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, DelMar, California. Call 858-755-1161.
The main governing body of horse shows in this country is the United States Equestrian Federation, founded in 1917 to oversee equine matters. Shows of all types can be found at its website: usef.org.