Some notes about events

I view my primary responsibility as Events Director to inform our members about car events, to keep track of who is going, to make suggestions based on my experience about specific events, and to forecast what events we might do in the coming year.

We genuinely want you to participate in as many or as few events as you’d like. There will be a lot to choose from and we hope that you enjoy each event you attend. As the events director, I’ll do my best to inform you about all the local car events, keep track of who is going, and maybe even put together a few fun events for us myself.


These notes were written especially for you. This has been fine-tuned through many experiences participating in and putting on car events. Please take the time to read through this. There’s good stuff here.

Some types of events we can do are:

  • Car Shows (paid)
  • Car Shows & displays (free)
  • Parades
  • Cruises & Tours
  • Visits & drive-by requests
  • Picnic / BBQ / Party
  • Outings to a museum
  • Outing to an auto shop
  • Cars & Coffee
  • Poker run, scavenger hunt
  • Charity Event
  • Weekly or monthly hang-out
  • Social Events
  • Celebrations of Life
  • Club Meetings

Staging - We set up a staging point usually with a 15-minute window between arrival at the staging point and departure to an event to drive in together. Even when I’m early, half of those attending are already there. Once we arrive at our destination, only then may I realize that you’re not with the group so I may call or text you. I just want to make sure that you’re not out there waiting for us or you got stuck. You're always welcome to call me or text me.


Where to park at staging – PARK WHERE IT IS MOST OPEN.

We will often refer to a meeting place as “Howard’s Appliances” or “Stater Bros”. If you get there early on, you have a choice: their congested main lot where all their customer’s park, or their nice side lot or open area away from the store with lots of room for us. ALWAYS pick the wide open area or side lot.

Conduct – You are representing Hot Rods Unlimited and all its members. Your actions reflect on our club. Please be respectful at all times to our hosts, other club members, members of other clubs, and event attendees.


If an issue arises about entry or accommodations, please calmly move to the side and contact someone on the board and we will use our relationship with the host to fix the situation. When you think you're right, nothing erodes your "moral high ground" faster than losing your cool. After that, it's nearly impossible to help.


No burn-outs or revving engines unnecessarily!!! I know we are all just overgrown kids with 500 horsepower at the tap of a toe, but this is extremely disrespectful to the property owner and our hosts. Many events have been shuttered and clubs banned by this action, which reflects poorly on our club and the car community as a whole.


The board works very hard to develop relationships with those putting on events and any poor behavior is an insult to those efforts. As events director, I follow up with our hosts after every event to thank them for having us. Please keep this a positive experience. Failure to comply may result in being expelled from the club.

Parking – General - 

We are there to display our cars and how they are parked makes all the difference!


Most often, we should back in and park diagonally, using 3 spaces to park 2 cars.


- In a straight-forward grid parking lot, back in and park diagonally, using 3 spaces to park 2 cars.


 - In a parking lot with angled parking, park at the opposite angle.

Parking – Car Show examples

Parking Lot - The Laguna Hills Chamber car show was held at Laguna Hills Mall in a standard parking lot. This meant there was no EZ-up area between the backs of cars so we skipped 2 spots in the middle of two rows of cars. We should have skipped 3 car spots to allow plenty of room so the EZ-up tents don’t encroach onto the nice cars. This style showed off the club really well with a clear front with a banner and table for goodies to give away.

Field areas - The San Juan Rotary car show is held in a field. They choose to park all the cars in rows front to back. I think this is the worst way to park for all involved. Spectators don’t know which row to walk down and/or are impeded by EZ-up tents. In this field type set-up, all cars should be back-to-back, with space for EZ-up tents. Car people like to set-up behind their cars, and spectators like to view cars from the front. This way you have clearly designated rows for EZ-up tents and car people, and other rows for spectators to view the fronts of cars from each side. This also means that since we all came in together, we’re probably parked in one long row meaning your car may be 20 cars away from the first one. No good! In situations like this, I highly recommend parking, and then set up our ez-ups BEHIND our cars.

Meandering areas - The Canyon Cruise car show at Canyon RV Park is a meandering grass setting so there are no rows specifically. I parked us in a similar area at the Lake Forest Sun & Sail club car show. This is better than a poor front-to-back field set-up.

Street style parking - San Clemente & Dana Point have their car show on the street. Show cars back into the curbs so the spectators can view the cars walking down the street.

Cruises, tours & drive-bys – A lot of work goes into planning the routes we take on car cruises, tours and drive-bys. Often the trip is pre-driven by the event coordinator to avoid any surprises. A copy of printed directions will always be emailed or handed to each driver. Please familiarize yourself with the directions.


Having a navigator with you in the car always helps.


The overall leader will go at or below the speed limit in an attempt to keep us all together and allow for catching up. The idea is to enjoy the cruise and drive together. If we’re going, for example, for a 5-mile cruise with 10 stop lights on a road, some of us may not make a light. If this happens to you, please pick up the pace a bit and try to catch up.


During the smaller, slower or more important parts of the cruise, being in 1 long line of cars is the best idea.


If it’s a long cruise or there are gaps between the important parts, it might be better to use all the available lanes so it’s more likely that we all get the same green lights and all arrive around the same time.


If there is a double left turning lane, use both lanes. This helps us all make the turn.


If there is an important part or destination, or on longer cruises, a re-grouping point may be planned. If you’re in the front part, plan to pause there. If you’re not part of the front, DON’T. The reason for the pause is so you can catch up. The leader may not be able to see if everyone has caught up and may only be guessing that enough time has gone by and chose to proceed to keep the tour fun for everyone.


Almost everyone assumes that they will just follow the person in front of them and all will be ok. This is not a good idea. One wrong turn and it’s hard to recover. The more complicated the route, the more likely this will happen.


It’s tough keeping us all together and we will likely become separated at some point. At any moment during a cruise YOU will become the leader. Please be prepared.


If you find yourself leading and you don’t know where you are going, please pull over and wave on the next car. If you’re the next car, and you don’t know where you’re going, wave on the next car, and so on. It’s VERY important that someone take the lead and the only way to signal is for every driver who doesn’t want to take the lead is to KEEP YOUR ARM WAVING.

Parades - There are several official city parades throughout the year and they are a lot of fun to do! They feature tons of spectators and a great atmosphere. Most parades limit the number of cars per car club to 12. Most city parades will have a mandatory meeting before hand to clarify the event guidelines, parade route and the rules.

The general rules for all parades:

- We must all arrive to staging together

- No burn-outs

- No throwing anything (they don't want kids racing out into the street for a piece of candy, etc)

- No political or advertising statements

- Keep engines turned off in staging area (to keep exhaust fumes down)

- Stay at least six feet from spectators at all times

- Roll windows down to facilitate communication with parade staff


Cities put on parades and people attend parades to celebrate and to show pride in their community. Our reason to be there is fun.


Remember to decorate your car to the theme of the event.

Smile and wave as you go. Honk your horns and an occasional loud rev is usually ok.


Spacing: The spacing between ENTRIES should be 4-5 car lengths. The spacing between ALL OUR CARS IN OUR ENTRY should be 2-3 car length (i.e. normal driving distance) When we stop, please leave a 2-car gap.

Most parades move at about 2 or 3 miles per hour so you are on the brakes most of the time. If you have an electric fan it really helps for at least driver peace of mind. Here are the times it takes to actually parade and I’m adding a line of staging time


Laguna Niguel takes about 20 minutes. We move up in staging a couple times then shut off. Just before we parade, you can usually tell when it a minute or 2 to go.


Lake Forest 4th takes 36 minutes (we timed it last year). I don’t recall exactly but probably similar to LN.


Dana Point festival of whales is the shortest distance of all so about 10 minutes. It’s 1 long line of staging of stop & go before you parade so expect 10 minutes of idling.

Club Events – Technically, a Club Event is designated as an event with more than 8 or so cars going (that’s why it’s important to RSVP to me) where we do our best to make it even more fun, from staging first and driving in together to setting up a full blown potluck party under easy-ups and lots of HRU signage. These are often popular events for us in the past and most of them have been pre-planned at the start of the year.


Making club events special – For me, it’s working together as a club that makes events more special and contributing to the group that brings us together. An EZ-UP tent is so nice on a warm day, having snacks to share or a game to play just makes the day nicer. Music is always appreciated. We all have something we can do or bring and if we work together, we show each other and everyone else that we’re a great club with great people. If you have something you can bring, let’s coordinate our efforts to make our outings even better.


Charity – Our club members are all so fortunate and we all have a lot to be thankful for. Each year, we tend to pick a special charity to support as a group. Contributions are always welcome. At Club Events, if you don't bring anything to share, please consider dropping a few dollars into the charity jar if you enjoy a bottled water, cup of coffee, a snack, or anything else another member has brought to share. It shows them that you appreciate their efforts and helps the club meet our charitable goals. In the past, we have also raised money for charity by doing special events like garage sales, children’s charity holiday gift donations and just passing the hat. We welcome your ideas!


Special Social Events – Each year the club hosts a few events that are less about cars and more about our friendships, including the annual HRU 4th of July BBQ, a club picnic in the fall, and a club holiday party. These are some of our most well attended and best events of the year so we hope you’ll plan on being there.

Rain - Most of us do not want to drive in the rain and there will likely be less cars at shows and it will probably end early. I’ll try to not plan anything if it might rain and I’ll do my best to text everyone I know is planning to go if we cancel that morning. Watch your email in the morning of an event where there may be rain announcements as well.

Contacting me - Please save my cell phone number in your contacts. I check my email Monday – Friday several times a day and I’m very good about responding. If you want to talk to me now, please call me. If you want me to see or respond to something pretty quickly, send me a text. If you send me an email any time after late Friday afternoon, I may not see it until Monday morning.


Communicating of events – Announcements about events are sent via email as soon as I hear about them. After that, I’ll send out an “attendance update” in between, followed by a “last call” the week of the event.


A weekly “all events” email is sent out every Monday with a synopsis of all the current events along with a few save-the-date advisories. This follows the schedule of the webmaster to update the website every Monday making sure all the latest info is there, so if you look at the website events listing for that weekend you can count on that it’s correct.

Event Coordinators – With upwards of 150 available events each year, I can’t attend every event myself. If you could coordinate one event, especially one I’m not attending, this would be a big help to me and the club. It’s pretty easy. I’ll send you an email to send out to everyone so you can keep track of who is going, and then you coordinate the staging and whatever else you’d like to help make the event better. Even one event per year will make a big difference and will be much appreciated.


Picking Events  - Classic car season is almost 12 months a year in southern California. In just south Orange County there is something going on every week and sometimes several things each week.


Near the beginning of the year, I’ll invite members to help select which events we want to focus on for the coming year. By narrowing our focus, my goal is to make those “Club Events” better by increasing participation and working together to make the event even more special for our club. If you’re interested in which events are chosen, please plan on attending this gathering.


If you have any questions or any suggestions about events or can participate by being an event coordinator, please let me know.


Let’s go have some fun!


Greg Souza

email the Events Director