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2020 was a long year. We’re looking forward to better days in 2021 as more Americans get vaccinated and see COVID-19 infection rates decrease. If things keep going the way they are, we’ll be back to attending our favorite events. And for fans of hot rods, that means visiting favorite annual events nationwide.

We’ve compiled this list of three hot rod events for your socially distanced summer 2021. Disclaimer: Events are subject to change, so check before heading out.

Why might coronavirus precautions still be necessary at hot rod events?

There’s been much debate online and in the media over whether vaccinated people must wear masks or social distance. “Vaccination, face coverings, and physical distancing are essential parts of a team effort against the coronavirus.” Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer at the University of Michigan, told the vaccine alliance Gavi. “Masks and social distancing will need to continue into the foreseeable future — until we have some level of herd immunity.”

Another thing to keep in mind is that no vaccine is 100 percent effective in 100 percent of the population. Dr. Tom Frieden, a former CDC director, said that one in 20 vaccinated people is left unprotected. Plus, how vaccines are transported, stored, and handled drastically affects their effectiveness. This is because the mRNA used to produce vaccines is fragile.

Last, it’s important to understand that vaccines take time to work. It could take two weeks for your immune system to produce the necessary antibodies. And because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses with two or three weeks between shots, this could mean up to two months before viral protection. And because not everyone has been vaccinated, it’s common decency to wear a mask and/or remain socially distanced.

1st Meguiar’s All-Star Get-Together, June 4–6

Hosted by Goodguys, the 1st Meguiar’s All-Star Get-Together will happen just in time for Memorial Day at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. According to Texas Motor Speedway, Goodguys is partnering with NASCAR All-Star Race Weekend to host this hot rod event. Only American-made cars and trucks are allowed to participate. However, import models with “domestic powerplants” are welcome, too.

“The environment is family-friendly, and Goodguys kindly requests that all attendees, staff, and vendors wear face coverings and maintain 6 feet of physical distancing whenever possible,” Texas Motor Speedway says.

Goodguys 23rd Summit Racing Nationals, July 9–11

Taking place at the Ohio Expo Center and fairgrounds in Columbus the weekend after Independence Day, the Summit Racing Nationals is the “big one,” Goodguys exclaims. At this mostly outdoor hot rod spectacular, you can peruse more than 6,500 hod rods, classic and custom rides, muscle cars, and trucks made through 1987. Then step inside the expo center to check out the Mustang display.

Other diversions include a burnout contest, a 16-car “summer shootout,” a nitro dragster exhibition, and a car swap meet. Also, expect live bands and a kids’ zone with free games, prizes, and arts and crafts.

Goodguys doesn’t specify on its website if the event will require facemasks or social distancing, so come prepared if you have to mask up inside the expo center.

Hot August Nights, August 3–8

“More than just a car show,” Hot August Nights is set to happen in Reno and nearby Sparks, Nevada. Some claim few events come close to rivaling this hot rod and muscle car experience. Plus, if you’re heading in from out of town, you can also visit Las Vegas before or after the weeklong festival. But if you’re not interested in the extra stop, don’t worry — the Reno/Sparks area is a well-known resort and gambling center as well.

The fest offers a dizzying number of events, including swap meets at the Reno/Sparks Livestock Events Center and daily Show-n-Shine competitions for $10,000 grand prizes at Grand Sierra Resort. Plus, concerts will feature different music acts every day, including the Commodores and Chubby Checker in concert on Saturday, August 7.

Note that the event-holders lost two team members to COVID-19, so it would be a good idea to follow the event’s health and safety guidelines to respect others. Hot August Nights’ website doesn’t show updated pandemic guidelines as of this writing, so it’s probably best to Nevada‘s state rules.


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