Are you ready for the automotive experience of the year? Shift into drive because it’s time for Edmonton Motorshow, where you can see the latest and greatest from manufacturers showcasing the coolest in classics, exotics and customs. From the future-focused to those nostalgic for the past, friends and family can enjoy a day, or the entire weekend, celebrating, engaging and interacting with the best of the auto industry.
“Whether you’re in the market for a new vehicle, looking at something to do to yours, celebrating a love of cars, or you just want a day out with the family, we have the second largest footprint in Canada for a car show, just behind Toronto’s,” says Eleasha Naso, executive director of the Edmonton Motor Dealers’ Association (EMDA).
The show gives spectators the opportunity to see the latest in manufacturers’ brand developments, many of which are not even displayed in dealerships yet. “We’re looking at future technology, possible concepts and vehicles coming out in 2021, or things for after the show debuts,” says Naso. “We are the best way to see all the brands if you are deciding what’s right for you or your family.”
For Edmontonians, this means a big truck presence. “I think we will always be Truck Country,” says Naso. “We are prone to having a ton of trucks at the show, including the unveiling of new trucks and concepts coming to the market.”
However, the show is so much more than that. “We are also a celebration of everything automotive,” says Naso. “We’re an event, a day of fun for the family celebrating something that we spend a large part of our time in. Sometimes we don’t realize how important these vehicles are to our day-to-day lives.”
A multi-faceted experience, the Edmonton Motorshow has been entertaining car enthusiasts young and old for 44 years. This year all the favourite attractions are back, with an exciting new addition. AutoLife is an all-ages hall where every exhibit features fun and interactive elements, thrilling even the youngest car lovers.
“We really wanted to focus on having a family section that’s not just something to look at, but something to do at the show,” explains Naso. “Whether it’s a contest for trying on race gear, suiting up the fastest and getting into a cart, AMA’s ‘touch a truck’ and tow truck demonstrations or anything on the educational side where children can learn things like the rules of the road, AutoLife is strictly an automotive themed interactive hall.”
Looking to modernize your vehicle? The Auto Emporium is a must-see. “This is all about the vehicle owner looking for any enhancement they can do to their vehicle. This includes wraps, tires, engine work and all kinds of customizations,” says Naso.
Unrivalled Rides is back too. “This is our competition for local Albertans who bring in their passion projects they’ve spent a phenomenal amount of time and love into modifying. Patrons of the show will be voting for their favourite,” explains Naso.
Bidding or not, show-goers can also experience the electricity of a live Barrett-Jackson style auction. Edmonton Motorshow offers ongoing entertainment Friday through Sunday at its Collector Car Auction. “If you’re interested in buying something that ranges from the 1920s up until present, we have cars come through with no reserve where you can get smoking deals on them,” says Naso. “We have also had your ‘67 Mustang Shelbys rolling through with reserves that go for six figures.”
Just when patrons think they’ve seen it all, they can enter the adrenaline-lover’s dream with an entire hall devoted to the after-market side of vehicles, including Castrol Racing, monster trucks and more. Or, step outside for drift track action. “We have drifters from the professional racing scene performing a demonstration three-to-four times each day,” says Naso. “If you’ve never seen drifting, it is something to behold.”
Anyone looking to take in the show more exclusively can attend the Precious Metal Gala. The charitable event is a special preview to the show that includes fantastic food, drinks and entertainment. Naso notes, “It’s a completely different ambiance with all the house lights turned off and the cars spotlighted. If you’re attending on the business side, it’s the way to schmooze within the industry and to mingle with other industries that come in support. If you’re looking for a night out with less crowds, it is the best way to take in the show.”
Last year’s Gala raised over $221,000 to foster education, specifically within the automotive industry, at the high school and post-secondary levels.
“We have a grant program for local high schools that have shop programs,” says Naso. “A shop is very expensive to run in a school with the rate of technology change in our industry. Keeping up becomes a big financial burden on the high school. We want to make sure students are exposed to everything and if it’s a career path they might have interest in, we want them to have a taste of it prior to entering a post-secondary program.”
The second portion of Precious Metal Gala funds supports the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (NAIT) automotive programs for service, parts and body shop technicians. “Anyone working with one of our dealer members while attending these programs is offered a scholarship to assist with tool acquisition and their expenses,” says Naso. “We want to thank them for choosing to be a valued part of our industry, and specifically with our dealer members.”
That’s what the show is all about – giving back to the community. For $15 or less, attendees enjoy hours of entertainment and fun, celebrate the automotive industry and see proceeds given back to local initiatives. “At the EMDA, we are a large part of the community,” concludes Naso. “We’re big on community interaction and our dealer members are big on giving back to the community and supporting local. This is what this show does as well; when you support us, it goes right back into our community.”
The Edmonton Motorshow runs April 16-19, opening with the Precious Metal Gala on April 15. The Collector Car Auction will take place Friday through Sunday (it is not open to the public on Thursday and is the only feature of the show not included in the Thursday ticket). If you haven’t picked up your ticket yet, don’t miss out! Visit www.edmontonmotorshow.com to get your tickets and follow the Edmonton Motorshow on social media for more behind-the-scenes looks at this year’s show.