Whether you are an avid car enthusiast or just want to see what the newest auto technology has to offer, the first annual Springfield Auto Show should be on your to-do list this weekend.
The event will stretch the whole weekend, starting at 11 a.m. Friday at the new Wilson Logistics Arena at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, with free admission and door prizes. The show will run 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12-6 p.m. Sunday. Food trucks will be available by the entrance.
The auto show will feature almost 40 cars from 12 different manufacturers from Ford and Honda to Dodge and Porsche with opportunities for visitors to learn about the newest models.
The event is hosted by the News-Leader’s parent company, Gannett/USA TODAY NETWORK.
Auto Show Director Kendra Aukamp said the goal is to offer an alternative to high pressure sales environments new car purchasers sometimes experience. Instead, the event is a way for people to find multiple makes all in one place without having to drive all over town.
Springfield is an opportune place for an auto show in Aukamp’s eyes. While St. Louis and Kansas City host their own auto shows, Springfield’s rich history with Route 66 lends itself to an event closer to home.
“We know it’s a market filled with car enthusiasts to begin with,” she said. “So just getting you know, kind of the other side, away from the classics and into the new cars is an opportunity for the local folks to get a hands-on experience.”
With the newest models, there is an increased focused on going electric. This is why the auto show will include an EV Summit presented by City Utilities.
Electric Vehicle Summit
The summit will unfold over the entire weekend with different 15-minute presentations on the impacts of choosing electric vehicles and the different infrastructure in place for the shift into electric in Missouri.
Marsha McClanahan, director of Energy Services & Renewables at CU, said the goal is to educate people on their options, answer their questions and debunk any misunderstandings.
“We’re just there to answer [people’s] questions, give them realistic answers and availability to research any information about electric vehicles as they ask,” she said.
CU stays up to date on all the newest EV technology whether that involves battery life or costs of operating the vehicle in order to be the best resource to answer residents’ questions, McClanahan said.
Times of the EV Summit presentations:
- 1:30-2:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3
- 4-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4
- 1:30-2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5
On Friday, the Ozarks Transportation Organization will talk about future plans for charging infrastructure and grants available in the state. TLC Properties will also share their experiences with providing chargers to their residents.
The Ozarks Clean Air Alliance will provide information throughout the weekend about the Clean Cities Coalition with a focus on the importance of keeping the Springfield air clean. The alliance hopes to engage with those interested in learning what they can do as drivers to reduce their emissions. Aukamp said a local Clean Cities Coalition is also just forming in Springfield. The coalition is a national effort to encourage local work that advances energy-efficient mobility fuel-saving technologies and other practices.
City Utilities will give two presentations — one about their home charging rebate programs and the electric buses and the other about the facts and myths of EVs. CU has two electric buses in their fleet, one of which will be on display and available for people to board at the auto show.
Springfield currently has three rebate programs in place associated with electric vehicles. McClanahan said one is for homebuilders to install a charging station in the garage as they build the house, as this is less expensive than tacking it on after the drywall is installed. CU also offers rebates to current homeowners who install a 240-volt outlet or purchase a level two WiFi charger.
“It was a great opportunity for us to organize a presentation to kind of educate overall, about electric vehicles in general, and provide an open forum where people can come and hear about different facets of leading an EV lifestyle, but then also the opportunity for them to ask questions to local experts that they might not have access to in other platforms,” Aukamp said.
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McClanahan said there will be eight or nine electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles on display with dealers available to answer questions about the different features of EVs. Tesla test-drives will also be available Saturday and Sunday.
City of Springfield staff are currently working on drafting adjustments to the Zoning Ordinance in order to better regulate the locations and placements of EV charging ports around the city after the Springfield Planning & Zoning Commission’s approval last month.
Sunday fun for the whole family
Cars will not be the only focus of the show though. For a full day of family fun, Sunday will feature balloons, princesses, Spider-Man and animals.
Starting at 4 p.m. Friday and running through the weekend, remote control car drivers will have a chance to speed through three different tracks — drag racing, obstacle course and drift tracks. For those without their own car, rentals will be available all weekend.
When to catch them:
- Dena the Balloon Lady, noon-2 p.m.
- Princesses of the 417: Cinderella, 2-3 p.m. & Spider-Man, 3-4 p.m.
- Dickerson Park Zoo Animal Ambassadors: 3-5 p.m.
Marta Mieze covers local government at the News-Leader. Contact her with tips at [email protected].