History will be made in May when the Twin Cities Auto Show opens at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds: For the first time in its 48 years, the show will go on outdoors.
Hundreds of new vehicles will be displayed where Midway rides typically thrill fairgoers each summer. But there also will be seven "neighborhoods" spread across the fairgrounds, each showcasing motorized vehicles and activities around different themes.
"We are hoping to take full advantage of the 322 acres," said Scott Lambert, president of the Greater Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association of Minnesota, which produces the show. "This will be a much bigger extravaganza around the celebration of automobiles."
Last year, the Auto Show ran for only six days at the Minneapolis Convention Center before organizers closed it down due to the pandemic. The show is typically held in March, but by waiting two months, Lambert is hoping to avoid a repeat of 2020.
COVID-19 procedures will still be in place, including patron screenings at the gate and a requirement to wear a mask, but "we're not like a stadium. We don't sit elbow to elbow," Lambert said. "And it's outdoors."
To get the spending juices flowing, Lambert plans to have food trucks offering State Fair treats. The show will also include "ride and drive" events allowing guests to test drive vehicles.
Electric and hybrid vehicles will be displayed in one of the themed neighborhoods. Vehicles ranging from dump trucks to snowplows to semitrailers will be featured in the Heavy Duty neighborhood. The show also will include a display of vintage to modern military vehicles, classic and racing-style motorcycles and classic cars, customs and hot rods.
Everything from luxury motor homes to ATVs to Jet Skis and kayaks will be featured in the Outdoor Adventure neighborhood. Family activities will include bumper cars, ziplines and displays of police cars and firetrucks.
Old favorites from the indoor show, such as "Luxury Lane," will also be back.
"We think we have covered the full gamut," Lambert said.
Tickets for $10 went on sale Monday at twincitiesautoshow.com and will be offered through Feb. 28. Prices increase to $15 starting March 1 and will be $20 at the door.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768