Although many auto shows try, few are all things to all people. Most are a compromise boasting one or two strong points while trying to minimize several serious gaps in their entertainment efforts. Every now and then, however, you find an event that is a complete package. One of the best examples of the real deal is the legendary Turkey Run in Daytona Beach, Florida, held every year during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Entertaining car enthusiasts for almost four decades, the 37th annual get-together attracted 75,000 spectators, 4,540 show cars, and almost 3,000 vendors to the infield of the Daytona International Speedway.

You could easily devote all four days to looking at the collection of cars on display. Filling up the infield were hot rods, street rods, muscle cars, kit cars, restored originals, and antiques, along with our favorite, a great collection of custom trucks, painted in every color of the rainbow. Take advantage of the scooter rentals if you want to see it all! If shopping for parts was high on your list, the huge gathering of vendors made it easy to find virtually anything automotive. Everything from nuts and bolts to major automotive items like car rotisseries and crate motors were on display. And if you had second thoughts about lugging that new five-speed trans to the parking lot, parts-hauling golf carts were there to simplify the transfer. Shopping options for the ladies were also available, with a large craft section inside the track and Daytona’s sprawling Volusia Mall just across the street.

Want more? Maybe it was time to update the family set of wheels. If so, the Car Corral was the place for you. Drive in, sell yours, and drive out with something new. Lots of folks do it every year and the 1,490 vehicles on display meant there was something for every budget. The live auto auction with Dealer Auctions Inc. gave you even more options. Of course, if you’d like to get your truck for free, just buy a raffle ticket. Winner, Everett Lightner, from Richmond, Virginia, can tell you all about it. He heard his name drawn Saturday night and headed home in his beautiful new 1972 Chevrolet pickup, complete with 400 CID V-8, automatic transmission, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, and custom stereo. Money from the raffles allows the Daytona Beach Street Rods to continue their charitable work, supporting worthy causes since the event began almost four decades ago. Lots more folks went home with major prizes during the Friday and Saturday afternoon door prize giveaways.

What’s the best part of Florida’s largest car show? It could be the great selection of food from dozens of vendors, the wonderful opportunities to reconnect with old friends, or the laid-back atmosphere with no judging, no trophies, just full-time fun. If you’d like to participate in an event that just might be all things to all enthusiasts, put the annual Turkey Run on your Can’t Miss list for 2011. Get more info at www.turkeyrun.com. CCT