There are many great outdoor events and we're privileged to bring you some of the best in America. These vintage vehicle shows grow bigger and better every year-drawing more vehicles and providing greater fun to increasing numbers of attendees and participants. One of the best late-season rod runs in the Southeast is the legendary Daytona Turkey Run. The event started innocently when members of the Daytona Beach Street Rods were refused entry to an antique auto parade. The following Thanksgiving weekend, they hosted the first official Turkey Rod Run. It grew every year until finally the club changed the show's name, recognizing the universal appeal of the event. Now 31 years later, the Daytona Turkey Run routinely fills the Daytona International Speedway to capacity (5,050 vehicles this year) and attracts more than 80,000 auto enthusiasts to the Thursday through Sunday event.
Like most successful ventures, the reason for the club's success is simple. Give folks more fun than they expect and they'll come back next year with their friends! This family reunion atmosphere is one of many reasons for spending the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Daytona Beach. While most come to admire the huge assembly of cars and trucks, many come to shop. Even with the construction that limited space inside the Speedway, 2,000 vendors spaces occupied meant the selection of automotive equipment was amazing. Need a portable lift to raise your truck inside your garage or a "rotisserie" so you can flip it over and work on the bottom? No problem! There were several versions of both on sale. From performance parts and custom accessories to replacement fiberglass cabs complete with doors, you could find it all. Parts-hauling golf carts carried your treasures back to the parking lot while food vendors replenished your energy throughout the day. Time to trade the old truck? The car corral, with a thousand vehicles on display, made one-stop shopping easy. Buyers and sellers always do a brisk business at the show.
Extensive daytime events will tax your stamina, but the fun doesn't stop when the sun goes down. Games like the automotive Teeter Totter, Slow Drags, and Flame-Throwing contests entertained folks and added another dimension to the show. Always the center for the exciting Saturday-night giveaways, more than $25,000 worth of prizes was awarded throughout the four-day show. The one special giveaway and ultimate prize everyone was waiting for was the beautiful '69 Camaro with a 383-stroker motor and Turbo 400 trans. Donations for the annual giveaway car are used by the host club, the Daytona Beach Street Rods, as part of their three-decade commitment to supporting Volusia County charities. This year, Jack Bartlett of St. Mary's, Georgia, was the lucky winner.
If you'd like to view a huge collection of custom vehicles, shop for merchandise from thousands of merchants, and have more fun than expected, mark the 2005 Turkey Run dates on your calendar: November 24-27, 2005. If you find your-self in central Florida this Spring, put Florida's second-largest car show, the 14th Annual Spring Daytona Beach Car Show and Swap Meet, on your calendar also. The dates are March 18-20, 2005. Traditionally, more than 2,500 collector cars arrive at Daytona International Speedway for this three-day event. More information is available on both shows by visiting their comprehensive website, www.daytonabeachcarshows.com.
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