What to Bring to a Car Show

The time has come to show off your car at the car show. You’ve selected the show that fits your personality and budget, and you’ve prepared your car by fixing and detailing it. Next, you need to know what to bring (besides your car, of course) and what to do while you are there.

What to Bring

Most of the time, you’ll be outside. It will likely be hot and sunny, or miserable and rainy. Either way, you will want to make sure you have the following items:

  • Chair (or two) – preferably with an umbrella
  • Umbrella – for sun or rain or both
  • Cooler with drinks and snacks (if it’s a long car show and they permit you to bring your own food)
  • Portable battery-operated fan (with or without a spray bottle attachment)
  • Bug spray
  • Sunblock
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Cash for food, drinks, and souvenirs
  • Business cards (more on this below)
  • Cleaning cloth or wipes
  • Large spray bottle full of clean water (to clean your car and keep you cool)
  • Music – a Bluetooth speaker works great (more on this below)
  • 24 inch by 36 inch display board with BRIEF info about your car, how you built it, stats, history, interesting information and include any participation medallions or trophies
  • Signs politely asking people not to touch your car, if that’s what you want.


Dress in layers for the season. For example: bring a jacket you can easily remove. Some car shows have dress codes, so be aware of that factor. Also, make sure you wear comfortable shoes. You may be on your feet for quite a while. If you are really into it, and you have an old car, consider dressing in period-appropriate clothes. This is fun, and most people don’t do it, but the crowd will love it!


Consider having appropriate period music playing at a low volume. The volume should be just high enough for people to hear it when they come up to look at the car, but not so loud that it annoys everyone else at the car show. Please be courteous to your fellow car show exhibitors.

I put on music from the 30s whenever I show my 1931 Model A Ford. I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on the music. Everyone says it adds a nice touch.

Business cards

You may also want to bring a stack of business cards with your name and email address. You can use these to write the number of your entry in the show so people can reference it and possibly get in touch with you.  This is especially helpful if there is a “people’s choice” category. You can ask people to vote for you as you hand them a card.

Things to Do

Consider volunteering to take photos so people can be in the picture with their family. This is simply a nice thing to do, and people really appreciate it.

Also, talk to people. People love to talk to car owners. A really fun thing to do is ask people if they own a fun car or have any car stories. People love that!

Final Thoughts

Car shows can be great fun. It’s all about how you look at it. If you don’t feel like talking to people, hate to sit around, or hate to talk about your car, then stay away from car shows. Otherwise, get out there and have fun.

Written by Gary Pradel