The Best Summer Car Shows

No matter where you are going on vacation this year, somewhere nearby the hot rods and street machines will gather. During the summer car shows explode all over the country in nearly any place that has a handy car lot.
Here are some great shows, both to see and to participate in.

Street Rod Nationals in Knoxville, Tennessee, May 3-5, 2013

The incomparable beauty of the Volunteer State plays perfect host to thousands of pre-1972 customs, muscle cars and hot rods. The Nationals take over most of Tennessee during this time, with rodding and muscle enthusiasts getting out onto the winding roads in the Smoky mountains for at least a week before and after this show. There is outdoor activity of every conceivable type to enjoy in this state, and if you can’t swing a hotel room in Knoxville, there are cabins and campsites all over the place.

Back to the ‘50s in Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 21-23

This weekend-long event is an absolute blowout, with nearly 12,000 cars showing up to the state fairgrounds every year. There are cars from every era, but there is a heavy emphasis on street rods and 1960s muscle. Northern plains temperatures and beautiful surroundings combine with lots of outdoor noise and visual impact. Minneapolis/St. Paul is one of the largest cosmopolitan areas in North America, so there is plenty of nightlife and accommodations won’t be a problem.

Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada, August 6-11, 2013

This event has everything. Thousands of cars from every era, road runs, shows, classic car auctions and barbecues with concerts fill the schedule from start to finish. Hot August Nights is a premium destination for any car enthusiast. Reno, Sparks, and nearby Lake Tahoe play host to smaller events on the previous weekend of August 2. Plenty of hotels and casinos along with national forests, historic ghost towns, and gorgeous scenery mean a great time for the entire family.

Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, Michigan, August 17, 2013

If you can’t get out to Hot August Nights, this is the place to be in mid-August. Over 10,000 cars return to their birthplace and cruise famed Woodward Avenue in Detroit. People start coming in for a week before the actual event, and this run is a muscle car lover’s dream. There is plenty of iron from every decade, but the 1960s muscle cars steal the show. Cruising starts at 9 AM and continues until 9 PM. It’s free to drive in this cruise and it’s free to watch it.

Shades of the Past Rod Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee September 6-7, 2013

The Smoky Mountains are full of hot rods all summer long, and the Shades of the Past Rod Run is the big wrap-up of the summer season in the Southeast U.S. Thousands of pre-1972 cars gather in Pigeon Forge, with cruising, barbecues, concerts, and shows packing the Pigeon Forge Parkway all weekend. Early arrivals begin filtering into the valley for a week before the show. The weekend is capped off by the Hot Rod Roundup, where one lucky participant will win an actual hot rod. This year it's a '31 roadster by Alloway.

If you want to experience the great American love affair with the automobile, get out to one of these fantastic shows this summer, and let the kids soak up some horsepower along with the sun.

Author Bio:
Loretta Markson is a freelance auto blogger. She recently purchased a used truck in her native Houston, Texas, and plans on traveling to some of these car shows.

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