If you’re a fan of anything automotive, this time of year is always special. The 2018 Cleveland Auto Show, presented by Huntington Bank, is just around the corner, which also means that warmer weather is not too far off. The show opens its doors at the I-X Center at 5 p.m. Feb. 23 and runs through 8 p.m. March 4.

The Cleveland Auto Show always marks the start of the spring selling season, so it’s important to auto dealers as well as our local economy. But perhaps even more importantly, it’s a great time for anyone who is in the market for a new vehicle.

With more than 850 new pre-production and production vehicles on the show floor, there’s something for everybody and every kind of transportation need. When you visit, please don’t be afraid to ask questions of the product specialists in the booths. They are there to answer your questions, not to sell you a vehicle. They can help familiarize you with the new technological content on today’s vehicles, including new driver’s assistance and connectivity features.

If you see something you like, you just might be able to take it out on the road at one of our seven outdoor ride-n-drives, where you’ll be able to ride in vehicles from 13 different brands:  Ford, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru, Kia, Chevrolet, Land Rover, Jaguar, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat.

If you’re really interested in something, don’t forget to stop out to your local franchised new vehicle dealer after the show. They can take you on a more detailed test drive, and also explain the many new finance options and special deals that are always offered during the show.

If you’re not in the market for a new vehicle, the Cleveland Auto Show always offers plenty to see and do.

At Camp Jeep, an indoor ride event, you ride along as professional drivers put Jeeps through obstacles that include the 12-foot tall Jeep Mountain. Head to Millionaire’s Row, and see vehicles worth hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. Optimus Prime, the Western Star Truck that starred in “Transformers: The Last Knight” will be there every day the show is open.

Plenty of celebrities will visit during the show’s run. You can meet former Cleveland Browns quarterback and Super Bowl winner Bernie Kosar at the Honda booth Feb. 28, while NASCAR’s Ryan Truex will sign autographs in the Leaf Filter booth Feb. 29 – just to name a few.

If you want to get the family’s opinion on a new vehicle, head out to the show on Feb. 26. It’s Family Day, sponsored by Medical Mutual, when children 15 and under get in free. There’s plenty of family fun, too, including the Tribe hot dogs and a visit from Snoopy, who’s bringing a chance to win an overnight stay for four at Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay, with four two-day, any-day, any-park passes.

March 1 is Hero’s Day, when the Cleveland Auto Show honors America’s warriors, veterans and first-responders with free admission. If you like classic cars, the awards for the classic car competition takes place at 2 p.m. March 3. But the cars will be on display throughout the show.

While you’re at the show, you can register to win a two-year lease of either a 2018 GMC Terrain or a 2018 Buick Regal TourX, this year’s official vehicles, supplied by the Northern Ohio Buick GMC dealers. Just register at the official vehicle giveaway booth near the front entrance of the show.

Tickets are available clevelandautoshow.com. You also can get show details, such as hours, information on the official vehicle giveaway contest or updates on celebrity appearances there as well.

Admission for adults is $13, while seniors and pre-teenagers 6 to 18 get in for $11. Children under 6 always get in free – and parking is always, free courtesy of your franchised new vehicle dealers.

The Cleveland Auto Show is your chance to see virtually everything the auto industry has to offer, all under one roof. It’s also a lot of fun for the whole family.


David Waikem is chairman of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers Association, and vice president and co-owner of the Waikem Auto Family in Massillon.

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