Final preparations are being made in Iola as they get ready to welcome car enthusiasts from all over the Midwest for the annual car show and swap meet, which is held July 6, 7, and 8.
Doors open to the public at 6 a.m. Thursday and all hands will be on deck.
Joe Opperman, an organizer of the car show, says they anticipate around the same number of spectators as previous years, last year totaling a little over 120,000.
“We think we’re doing a nice job of improving and keeping up the show,” he said about the steady attendance numbers. “We’re marketing it well. Of course, weather is the thing you can’t control, but if we get good weather there’s no reason to believe that this wouldn’t be another great turnout.”
Even with that many attendees, the car show doesn’t feel crowded, Opperman adds, because of the 300-acre property that they own.
The show not only attracts people from the region, but also the country. Just last week, they were one of 20 to be nominated by the USA Today as the best car show in America.
“We’re talking about the Chicago Auto Show, the New York International Auto Show, Amelia Island, Hershey, these are great car shows,” Opperman said. “We have, believe it or not, been leading that since day one, we’re still sitting at number one. It is a vote daily sort of thing. We’re honored to even be considered amongst these shows, but to be leading it is just incredible.”
So what can you expect at this year’s show?
“We’ve always got some awesome show vehicles from every era,” Opperman explained. “This year we added a class called second-generation collector cars that were new versions to invoke the theme and look and styling of the originals. It’s been so much time that even those are considered awesome collector cars, so we’re anxious to see what all turns up there too. You certainly get a little bit of everything, all the way up to some modern muscle cars.”
For those looking to shop the swap meet for parts and deals it’s recommended to get at the show right when the gates open Thursday at 6 a.m. to beat the rush, but for those hoping to just take in the show cars, Opperman says you can come just a little bit later to avoid the rush.
There will be over 2,500 show cars and over 4,000 swap spaces.
With all the vendors and sponsors moving in later today, you can watch the progress live from their streaming Youtube channel below.