The 14th Annual Celebration Exotic Car Festival was in Orlando last weekend! Celebration Exotic Car Festival is a non-profit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It is the largest showcase of exotic cars in the U.S.! From Ferrari’s to Hollywood vehicles like the Batmobile there is something for everyone.
The four day event spends two days racing cars at the famous Daytona International Speedway. The cars are brought to Celebration’s downtown Market Street for a free event to the public to view all the cars from Lamborghini, Lotus, Aston Martin and many more incredible vehicles. Celebration is a beautiful spot to view all these hotrods. There is an awards presentation and the owners drive their winning cars down the red carpeted street.
Celebrities attend like Donny Most and Anson Williams from the 70’s TV show “Happy Days” drive the “Ralph Malph”, a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster and the family Teutuls from “American Chopper” made an appearance. “Back to the Future III” time machine, “DeLorean” and “Kitt” from the Knight Rider TV series also made appearances. One of the original 1974 Dodge Monaco “Bluesmobile” cars from the Belushi/Ackroyd classic was on hand as well as that scary 1957 Plymouth Fury “Christine” from the Steven King movie.
On Friday night, the festival put on an event held at the Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios City Walk, which sold a limited amount of tickets to the public. Cheap Trick lead singer Robin Zander and his son, Robin Taylor Zander opened the show with an acoustic set of Trick hit songs starting off with “The Flame”. “I Want You to Want Me” is classic Trick and everyone sang along. Zander did a beautiful tribute to his friend Eagle Glenn Frey, with a stellar version of “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. The younger Zander showed his musical chops with an original song called “High and Low” which had a Beatlesque feel. A class act, the Zanders played the stage between a DeLorean and a Ferrari set up on the stage for the festival. At one point, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer asked the “DeLorean” if it had any requests, which drew a big laugh from the audience.
Jay Leno, former Tonight Show host and one of the most popular stand-up comedians today brought his hilarious insights to the sold-out audience. Jay had just appeared on the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” the night before. Fallon was at Universal all week with his show to celebrate the opening of the new “Race through New York with Jimmy Fallon” ride at Universal Studios. The ride honors all the Tonight Show hosts including Leno, who took a spin with Jimmy on the new ride. Leno is perfect as the headliner for the Celebration Exotic Car Festival with his well-known collection of cars and his show “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC. Jay took shots at all the political players with no mercy! His observations of current affairs and pop culture gave everyone something to laugh at. After his set, Jay talked about what great work the Celebration Exotic Car Festival does for Make-A-Wish and personally donated $20,000 for the kids! A great way to end the evening on a high note!
Events also included a dinner and a concert starring Steve Augeri, former lead singer of “Journey” on Saturday night and the final day is a rally and awards presentation to end the great weekend! If you couldn’t make it this year, be sure to mark this on your calendar for next year! A great weekend for motorheads and to help the kids and Make-A-Wish!
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photography