photos by: the author
We pay a Visit to the Carlisle Events’ Fall Florida Auto Fest at Sun N’ Fun in Lakeland
While most of the country is busy tucking away their prized four-wheeled possessions for winter hibernation, the mild Florida weather keeps the car shows rocking all year round. One show in particular that we attended this past weekend, in the midst of November at a warm 80-something degrees, was the Carlisle Events Fall Florida Auto Fest held at the Sun N’ Fun airport in Lakeland.
Between the car show and the auction, cars of every color, model, and generation sat under the beaming southern sun with plenty of onlookers ogling over shiny engine bays. Overhead, a military helicopter without doors was giving awesome aerial views for those brave enough to take flight, and bi-planes also made their rounds overhead.
Tucked in one corner of the show was a whole area dedicated to the classic Pontiac Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit. Beyond that, a line of people had wrapped around a building waiting patiently (somewhat) for an autograph with the star himself – Burt Reynolds. That’s right, “Bo Darville” was in small-town Lakeland visible behind glass doors as people were ushered in one by one holding glossy photos, model cars and car parts to be signed.
One man even rolled his bumper on a dolly just for Burt’s John Hancock. While capturing photos of Burt, overheard in conversation was a couple who drove their Trans Am all the way from Minnesota and breaking down in Iowa just to relish in that one moment with Mr. Reynolds.
However, getting Burt’s autograph wasn’t a cheap feat. The prices ranged from a small $25 photograph to $200 to get his signature on car parts, such as your glove box door or Shaker hood scoop.
Then it was waiting in a long line for over an hour just to meet the man face to face for a few seconds. Worth it for any hardcore Burt fan. Getting photos of Burt wasn’t easy until he was chauffeured over to the car auction. Even then fans bombarded the new Cadillac he was sitting in.
While everyone was busy waiting for Burt, another celebrity was making the rounds. Ronnie Wood from The Rolling Stones had a car at the auction and was walking around and grabbing everybody’s attention with his long-haired rocker entourage. Those waiting to see Burt quickly turned to get photos with this friendly dude who just seemed to come up out of nowhere. Many people coming up and asking “Who is this guy?”
Of curse, there were plenty of our own friends from the industry in attendance, including YearOne Musclecars, Restore a Musclecar and Dream Giveaway, among others. All of which brought out some amazung hardware, including Dream Giveaway who brought out the Lingenfelter-prepped C7 Z06 Corvette that you can enter to win, right here!
All in all, the show was great. Lots of cars to look at, celebrities to share the moments with, and can’t beat the central Florida weather in November.
Amie became a fan of fine machinery as a kid thanks to her dad; a pilot and professional skydiver, and was always there to help tinker around on Cessnas and old Chevys. Amie has been writing in the automotive field for years on all makes and models.