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How to Attract Younger People to Classic Car Shows

Auto parts, collectibles, beautiful cars and let’s not forget the many hours of blood sweat, and tears.

By Dave WettlauferPublished 3 months ago 6 min read
Clip art from Sixpaque Library

… Written By A Human …

It’s springtime again folks and the classic car show & shine and swap meet flyers are just starting to be noticed. ‘let’s bring on summer.’

In today’s age; I will start this article off with a question, ‘Where can you and your whole family go and spend a fun afternoon for a 20-dollar bill?’ "No place except for at fun classic car shows."

And in most cases, the proceeds go to a local charity or food bank so in the end, everybody wins. But, after doing a quick look around at the first show, I have to ask another question;

‘Where are all the young upcoming car enthusiasts?’

I’m not doing any back-pedaling here but there is a parallel to this next part of the story.

Not long ago we spent an evening at the horse races and “as luck would have it” it was advertised in plain sight as ‘kids' night at the races.’ The event organizers were given outdoor prizes, a close-up view of the racehorse, and if you’re lucky enough, a young person could get a short ride with the jockeys around the track.

They gave out prizes, shirts trinkets that excited all the young people.

And, we all should remember one important thing. The establishment was promoting this fun night out at the horse races where gambling is involved, but, it's in the same building as the Casino.

Now don’t get me wrong but, the first thought that came to mind was, that the industry is hooking young people into gambling, priming the next generation to come back and carry on the “tradition of the parents”

And through all fairness, that’s a good marketing gig, like the MacDonald restaurant thinking.

We all know MacDonald food chain originally targeted their advertising to young people. Yeah, the same ones that didn’t have any money. This sounds silly but the theory behind their madness was; that the young members of the family hounded the parents so eventually, they went to MacDonald’s for ‘free trinkets they handed out.’ And in turn, cost the parents. Ronald McDonald Clown might have been secondary to their thinking. And we know this because the advertising worked. And the rest as they say is, ‘history.’

Now I only use these company names for example’s because I have to parallel my story to the absence of young people at the classic Car swap meets.

How can we attract younger people to Classic car swap meets?

As I’m walking up and down the new and used vendor corridors I too wonder what could we do differently to bring in more people or pass the torch to the young. We have to find a way so they can carry on this fun tradition.

We as car clubs and the sponsors of these events should try and promote the family-oriented or the young car enthusiast in the family to these fun afternoon events.

Maybe we need clowns or give always, maybe a small circus atmosphere … some kind of drawing card to entice the new generation. How, could we use the same concept these corporations spend millions of dollars on to get car-loving families to engage in this fun day out or hobby?

But alas car enthusiasts are noticing a decline in interest and visitor count at these automotive functions. I fear there is a diffident change in the wind.

But This Is The Gist Of The Story. How Do We?

Saturday’s swap meet totally proved my story wrong because the car club that sponsored the event did well in attendance that sunny day. They were wall-to-wall people all rubbing shoulders and telling stories and lies that only car guys would understand and laugh at.

It’s like being a designated driver for your buddy on a Saturday night out. The party you’re with is getting relatively stoned (excuse the colorful description) and telling jokes that only they understand in their drunken stupor. They were all on the same wavelength and laughing at something or nothing. The sober, just do not get the jokes.

Graph by (FREE) Clip Art Library

To my knowledge car enthusiasts or organizers of these events have not put their attendance numbers on a graph form or on paper to physically see a decline in membership. We all understand the challenges we face in recruiting new members to car clubs and car events in general. That is simple enough math for us. There is a downhill shift and, not in classic car movements' favor.

Perspective members were once lined up at a club door for a membership. Today classic car movement has come full circle and we are finding it harder to recruit people or even volunteers for these charity events.

And again, charity and non-profit events mean ... the proceeds go to a food bank or Make A Wish Foundation For Kids for example.

We don’t physically sit down and do the math up front to see a decline in patrons from year to year. We just know. Most car guys are just not built the way the corporate world works. But after saying this, we should keep a watchful eye or it will slowly disappear with the aging of the car guys.

One excellent reason we cannot let the classic car movement go by way of the dodo bird is, that the car clubs around the US and Canada generate many dollars for charity. That is the bottom line and, the most important part of my story.

A fifty-fifty draw brought in 20,000 dollars for a worthy cause.

Photo by Sixpaque / Author

Last Comment From This Car Guy/Author.

For car clubs, and the hot rod classic car movement, we should all pay attention to the decline in car enthusiast's enthusiasm, our fun industry depends on patrons and volunteers, and interested people from all walks of life.

We have to find creative ways like McDonald’s or even the horse racing industry to entice the younger crowd. This is still a fun hobby and some might go as far as to say, that owning a classic car could be a good investment.

But unlike years ago, every nut and bolt of an old vintage or classic car is available at a reasonable cost online. Old-school car guys had to make panels and all the parts needed by hand so, most enthusiasts don’t know how lucky they are in today's world.

Point of interest.

A local club ‘Highwaymen Car Club’ of Kitchener donated $$$$ to the Make-A-Wish Charity Foundation and that’s not sometimes, that happens every year. They faithfully put on a car show and shine that is open to the public and the car enthusiast.

On their website, they noted; that our club donation will help provide meals for up to 4,500 people during these challenging times.

This club mentioned is by no means the only one donating their time and resources to a worthy cause. All these Car Clubs in Canada and the US are doing much-needed worthy causes for the public and having fun doing it by showing off some classic car history.

By all intents; most of us car enthusiasts are not tuned into the art of social media advertising. Any suggestions on how to attract younger people to classic car shows and shine, swap meets, and get the next generation involved in these fun and mostly non-profit events, please leave comments and or suggestions.

... This article is just the author's opinion and not necessarily that of many club members...

... Thanks for Reading ...

❤ Hit that heart button if you enjoyed my story and please, share this story with like-minded people like you and me. ❤

This Article Was Originally Published On A Different Platform … LINK HERE …


About the Creator

Dave Wettlaufer

Canadian writer Classic Cars is my specialty. Versed in many subjects.so please CLICK this LINK to read more of my stories. To show appreciation, hit that heart ❤ button.


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