HomeCar CultureRoadtrippin’ 2019: Carlisle Events

Roadtrippin’ 2019: Carlisle Events


Editor’s note: We’ve selected four summer driving-season events that we will feature this month as potential road trips for you to consider. We start today with Carlisle Events. During the month of May, we’ll also offer some travel tips if you’re going to:

•  The Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance on Father’s Day weekend in Los Angeles. 

• The Concours d’Elegance at Copshaholm, July 13 in South Bend, Indiana. 

•  Hot August Nights hot-rod and custom car celebration August 2-11 in northern Nevada.

Carlisle roadtrippin’ map

Whether you’re a fan of Fords, Chevrolets, Chryslers, Trucks or even Imports, Carlisle Events has an event worthy of making a road trip.

However, if Imports are your thing, you’d better hurry because the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals take place May 17-19 at the Carlisle Fairgrounds in eastern Pennsylvania.

You have time to plan if you’re more interested in the Ford Nationals (May 31-June 2), the Chevrolet Nationals, which also welcomes all GM brands (June 21-22), the Chrysler Nationals (July 12-14), the Truck Nationals (August 2-4) or the Corvettes at Carlisle (August 22-25).

But if you’re making your way to any of those events, we’d suggest you consider making a long weekend of it and visiting some other car-related places — and some not-so-car-related — that are nearby. 

Carlisle has events for every automotive taste, including Corvettes…

Carlisle Events are staged in the namesake Pennsylvania community near the intersection of Interstate 76 (aka the Pennsylvania Turnpike) and I-81. Carlisle is just west of the state capitol at Harrisburg, and here’s a surprise: Carlisle is closer to Washington, D.C. or Baltimore than it is to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

Carlisle Events was founded by Bill Miller Jr. and Chip Miller in 1974. Related only by their shared interest in classic vehicles, the Millers had been friends since the 1950s. In the fall of 1974, they rented the local Carlisle Fairgrounds for a swap meet that drew 600 vendors and 13,000 people who paid $1 each admission fee to attend an event that contended that post-war cars could be collectible.

A spring event followed, then various marque-specific shows; the Millers eventually bought the fairgrounds and made improvements. 

Chip Miller died in 2004 but was succeeded by his son, Lance, with Bill Miller III also joining the team that also stages winter-season shows in Florida.

Whether you have a car to show or simply are a spectator eager to see hundreds of examples of your favorite marque, the Carlisle Events website has all the details concerning its various shows. 

But part of this series is to encourage you to expand your visit into a long weekend, or perhaps an even longer stay, and thus we’re sharing  some suggestions for other things to see and to do while you’re in the area.

AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has an outstanding Tucker display | Museum photo

For example, regardless of which Carlisle Events event you attend, you’re not far from Hershey, which in addition to a chocolate wonderland is home to the Antique Automobile Club of America and its library, and to the AACA Museum. 

Venture a little further to the east and there’s Allentown, with the America on Wheels Museum, with the RB Collection just across the street, as well as the NB (as in Nicola Bulgari) Center for American Automotive Heritage (which includes an outpost of the Historic Vehicle Association).

Simeone museum displays cars in their proper settings | Museum photo

Or if you’re heading that way, there’s the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

And there are more than just car-related places to consider during your cruise to and from Carlisle. Due south of Carlisle is the Gettysburg National Military Park and Civil War battlefield. Keep going south and you get to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., with more to do and to see.

But wait, there’s even more: Before you hit the road, don’t forget to check the Motorin’ website, a joint venture between SEMA and ClassicCars.com that includes a detailed calendar of and links to automotive events not only in the Carlisle area but across the country.  Simply insert a location and dates and be amazed by how much is happening.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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