Rev it up!—Cool, quirky Indiana car shows and cruise-ins

By Amy Lynch 

If you’re a gearhead, great news! Indiana offers plenty of car shows, cruise-ins and auto-related events throughout the summer to get your motor running. 

Das Essenhaus Classic Car Cruise-In

In northern Indiana’s Amish Country, Das Dutchman Essenhaus hosts a classic car cruise-in on Thursday evenings from May through September. This year marks the 13th season for the event with weekly themes that attract collectors, admirers and regional car clubs. Door prizes, coupons, food, live entertainment and 50s music round out the fun.

“The event began when Steve Payne, one of our employees who’s an avid car enthusiast, came back from a cruise-in and posed the question, ‘Why don’t we try hosting a cruise- in?’’” explains Hannah Walsh, Das Dutchman Essenhaus Marketing and Event Manager.

The very first few events lured in just a couple dozen cars, but these days, the cruise-ins attract anywhere between 200 and 300 participants each week.

“On the last cruise-in of the season, our finale, we average around 1,200 vehicles!” Walsh says. For more information: go to page/ 57/Classic-Car-Cruise-In


Classic car owners often consider their vehicles works of art, and Carmel’s Artomobilia organizers couldn’t agree more. A car show with a creative twist, the 11th annual IU Health North Hospital Artomobilia rolls into the Arts & Design District for an afternoon of automotive art and design appreciation Saturday, Aug. 25, blending works from local artists and galleries with iconic cars on display. A “Fuelicious” culinary event gets the party started on Thursday, Aug. 24, while “Shift,” an interactive driving experience through central and southern Indiana, wraps things up on Sunday, Aug. 26.

Launched in 2008 as part of the City and Redevelopment Commission’s effort to attract visitors to Carmel, Artomobilia is expected to draw between 12,000 and 15,000 attendees this year to admire more than 400 cars across more than two dozen classes including Exotic, Sports Car, Racers, Historically Preserved, Indiana Built and more.

Learn more about the event at

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival

When Delmar Johnson and his wife, Doris, decided to organize the first Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival in 1956, just 14 cars showed up, representing the
first informal meeting of ACD enthusiasts.

Now cruising into some of Indiana’s most prestigious
car territory for the 62nd time Aug. 25 through Sept. 2, “The Speedster”-themed Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival commemorates the Hoosier state’s automobile production heritage with a slate of events that includes a 700-car cruise-in, the Parade of Classics, kids’ activities, live music (Addison Agen from NBC’s “The Voice” is scheduled to appear for a free concert), and a massive auction.

“The Auburn Fall Auction estimates more than 90,000 people come through its gates each year,” says Amber Jackson, ACD Festival Executive Director. “Many visitors find their way to downtown Auburn to take in the local fare, museums and events throughout the week. And the Duesenbergs that roll into town are always a treat — last year a ’33 Duesenberg Model SJ Phaeton sold for $2,300,000!”

To find out more, visit

Big Blue Barbecue

New this year, the Kansas City Barbecue Society- sanctioned Big Blue Barbecue at the Shelbyville County Fairgrounds on Aug. 11 plans to include a car/truck/bike show as part of its event lineup. As of early summer, 20 barbecue teams had signed up to participate, with the furthest coming from Haberhill, Mass. As a KCBS- sanctioned event, winners receive points they can use to qualify for world championship competition, along with prize money and bragging rights.

The car show portion of the party is an added bonus for attendees, alongside musical acts, food vendors, an extreme frisbee tournament and other fun.

For further details, call 317-398-9623.

Model T National Tour and Homecoming

Home to the Model T Ford Museum, Richmond makes a logical spot to show off 150 vintage autos when the Model T Ford Club of America assembles for its big homecoming event July 8 to 13. On the itinerary, expect to find a car show, swap meet, ice cream social, demonstrations, seminars, driving tours and the opportunity to attend grand opening festivities for the museum’s new Vintage Garage and Education Center.

Hosted by the Henry’s Hoosiers and Southwest Ohio chapters, the club’s national tour first visited Richmond 10 years ago for a centennial celebration. A parade on July 11 from Glen Miller Park to the Historic Depot District where the museum is located promises to be a highlight of the weeklong shindig.

Additional information is available at, click “homecoming.”