PALM BEACH GARDENS – What started six years ago with 20 cars outside a donut shop and has morphed into one of the largest monthly car meet ups in the country.
Cars and Coffee Palm Beach just keeps getting hotter.
Event sponsor Florida Fine Cars recently caught up with Cars and Coffee Palm Beach marketing manager Lana Vegosen Galati to find out more:
According to Galati, attendance has reached 35,000 with as many as 3,500 cool cars on display.
“Our primary goal was to bring in spectators. Car owners will go where spectators are because then more eyes can see their ‘pride and joy.’ That has been one of the keys to our success,” she explained.
Every month at the Palm Beach Outlets Mall, thousands of car enthusiasts show off their cool cars to thousands of spectators who show up to see what’s there. The meet up moved to the Outlets Mall in 2015 and has grown exponentially ever since.
Car enthusiasts are likely to see everything from a $3.8 million 2018 Bugatti Chiron to a mud-spattered 1997 Jeep Cherokee that draws crowds every time it pulls in.
“Moving to Palm Beach Outlets Mall instantly grew the show,” Galati said. “The relatives and friends who weren’t interested in cars could shop, eat or visit other attractions there.”
Popular Monthly Car Show Offers Fun, Food and Lots of Cool Cars
Stop by Cars and Coffee Palm Beach and you’ll find the place abuzz with activity. Drones whiz from one end of the huge parking lot to the other photographing cars from the sky. The enticing smells of homemade barbecue and chicken and waffles wafts through the air. Engines rev. Cars backfire. And auto enthusiasts, car collectors and car club members mingle for hours with the curious spectators who pack the show to see what the next ‘wow’ exhibit will be.
Lake Worth residents Cindy Ryan and her husband David usually arrive at the Outlets Mall around 6:30 a.m. on show days to set up the display for Backdraft Racing, which features an array of 1965 Cobra replicas. Cindy works as a bookkeeper for the Boynton Beach-based Backdraft Racing.
Car owners eager to display their cool rides start arriving at 7 a.m. Engines rumble. Cars honk. Cameras roll.
“I think the best thing about this car show is that you can bring anything here – a car that is a driver everyday to exotics to custom to antiques,” Cindy said.
The show recently acquired 500 more spots for cars and vendors because the demand has become so high, Ryan said.
“You can find anything here from Toyota Corollas to Bugattis,” her husband added.
“Owners range from regular to rich. And you can sell a car or buy a car here.”
On this day, car buff Dan Glassford and his wife Arlene were admiring the rows and rows of incredible cars with their 3-year-old son Finnley and their 7-month-old daughter McKenzie. The show attracts many families who never would think to leave their little ones at home. The Glassfords bring food and drink and spend the morning enjoying the cars with their two small children.
They both agree the event is very “kid-friendly.”
“I’d say absolutely yes,” Arlene Glassford said nodding.
Car Show Caters to All Ages and Interests
According to John Zeilinga – one of the show’s founders – the popular monthly car meet up is growing by leaps and bounds because there’s something for everyone.
“We have everything from old Model T’s to brand new Lamborghinis, hot rods, race cars and hand-built garage cars,” said Zeilinga, a firefighter/EMT for Plantation. “We get people who just want to learn about cars and people who have been working on cars for 40 years.
Galati said the car show was originally organized so car enthusiasts would have a place to hang out and talk shop.
“At the time the landscape of the auto event world was very different. It was more isolated and divided,” Galati said. “The Corvette owners would hang out together, the Ferrari owners would hang out together, there were some classic cars events. There was no place where all the makes models and could hang out together.”
The Boynton Beach crowd multiplied quickly, growing from 20 cars to 500 cars, then 700 cars, filling up the entire lot outside the donut shop. The car show had to relocate because it needed space to grow.
The sprawling parking lot at the Palm Beach Outlets Mall made it possible to offer something for everyone, she said. Including marriage.
Galati said at least a dozen people have met their future spouses at the huge car show.
“In fact, three couples all met on the same day and celebrated their one year anniversary at the event,” she said.
The show’s purpose is to make everybody forget about the complexities of life for a while. And it seems to be working.
“We have one couple that comes out from the West Coast of Florida. Their first baby was due in August. It was hot, the baby was due any moment but they weren’t worried. They said, ‘Our baby is going to be a car girl.’ They went home and they wife went straight to the hospital and the baby was born right away,” Galati said.
“We get the whole spectrum. You get to meet billionaires you might not otherwise encounter but also meet the families who are struggling to make ends meet and want to see the cars they might not never otherwise see,” she added.
Most importantly, the car show is about people with cool cars having fun with people who admire their cool cars, she said.
“We are the world’s largest Cars and Coffee event and one of the largest monthly auto events,” Galati said. “There are three of us in the country that kind of go back and forth. There’s something for everyone.”
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Florida Fine Cars offers more than 1,700 quality used cars priced thousands below retail at its four locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach just north of Palm Beach International Airport, and in Margate, Hollywood and Miami.
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