“No-Show” Car Show, Egg Stravaganza Attracts Zero Entrants

BRISTOL, CT – The 2024 Spring Egg Stravaganza Car Show might more aptly be called the “No-Show Car Show” as the event certainly laid an egg today.

Maybe it was the chilly and overcast weather. Maybe it was the exorbitant entry fee. Maybe it was the lingering salt on the roads. Maybe it was the odd hours. Maybe it was due to a lack of publicity well in advance of the event. Maybe it was because classic car lovers haven’t pulled their vehicles from winter storage yet. Or maybe is was simply the wrong type of event to include old vehicles, but the Spring Egg Stravaganza Car Show scheduled for 8 to 11 a.m. at Rockwell Park failed to attract a single entrant.

Whatever the case, the show clearly demonstrated that staging a car show requires more than high hopes. It also provided a primer on what not to do. Let me count the ways, beginning with promotion.

Event flier

RIDE-CT only learned of the show this past Tuesday when a flier appeared on a couple of Facebook pages devoted to spreading the word about upcoming car shows, notably CT Car Shows & Meets and New England Car Shows & Meets. Four days is hardly sufficient to get the word out. Many car shows start doing publicity months in advance to establish their presence and cut through the clutter. With 300 or so cars show across the state each year, messaging needs to start early and be repeated.

Car owners who did react to the news about the show, either by posting a comment or chattering amongst themselves, were put off by what they considered an outrageous $25 entry fee. Most shows charge $10 or $15, and occasionally $20. Asking for anything more drives away entries.

The hours for the show also struck me as being particularly odd – 8 to 11 a.m.? What’s suitable for a weekend morning “Cars & Coffee”-type event isn’t okay for a car show. While some car owners do like to arrive early to get a good spot, such as for the Falls Village Car & Motorcycle Show each year, most shows are done during the more reasonable hours of 10 to 2 (or 3) p.m. or later.

2024 Spring Egg Stravaganza

Like baseball, car shows are also better attended when the weather is sunny and warm. The 40-degree cold this morning wasn’t conducive to sitting outside or strolling a show field.

Then there was the event itself. From what I could see, the Spring Egg Stravaganza was a combination Easter egg hunt for kids and craft fair for their parents, and there were numerous vendors around the show ground and elsewhere in the park.

Classic cars and cars shows, however, attract primarily attract older men. The two targets audiences simply don’t mix.

The Spring Egg Stravaganza and the non-Car Show was staged by the non-profit The Misfit Mamas Inc. Given the vendor turnout and the thought that went into the event’s layout certainly showed competency but the lack of classic cars in attendance suggests that someone simply chirped, “Let’s put on a car show! It’ll raise more money” with doing the necessary homework.

Putting on a show without a clue as to what it takes or what the car show culture is like was a recipe for failure. Call me hard-boiled (pun intended), but we’ve frankly reached a tipping point with car shows. There are too many. Just check out the calendar. There are several days this year with eight or more shows statewide.

My suspicion upon departing home this morning was that the Spring Egg Stravaganza Car Show would be a flop. That no one showed up, as confirmed by an organizer at the table outside the show ground, wasn’t a surprise. Wonder what’s to become of the 100 dash plaques that were promised to first 100 car owners who registered?

About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. A graduate of Vermont Academy prep school, he holds a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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