About

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About Carlisle Events

Since 1974, Carlisle Events has been a staple in the automotive community. Our passion is legendary to those who have made Carlisle, PA their "Automotive Hometown" and our commitment to the hobby continues with our expansion and continued growth in markets outside of central Pennsylvania.

Our Mission Statement

To continue our tradition as a respected leader in the automotive hobby; to be a responsible member of the communities in which we operate; and to pursue new business opportunities, ensuring the growth of the company.

Our History

Bill and Chip Miller, Founders of Carlisle Events What makes Carlisle, Pennsylvania so unique? It is the home of Carlisle Events and the Carlisle Fairgrounds, the location for the largest car and truck collector events in the country. Prior to Carlisle Events' emergence, anyone interested in restoring or showing 1950s‐ or 1960s‐era cars had few options. That all changed when Chip Miller and Bill Miller Jr., became friends through a mutual interest in cars of the 1950s. Together they began going to car shows and automotive flea markets, where like‐minded individuals would hunt for parts and accessories to restore their vehicles. A need for these events became obvious to these two men in 1973. Until that time, the only cars deemed worthy to collect were pre‐WWII automobiles. Carlisle Events was one of the first companies in the United States organized specifically to conduct and promote events for the collector car and truck hobby. On September 26, 1974, on the rented Carlisle Fairgrounds, "Post War '74" took place. It was the very first car event promoted by the company. In a year still remembered for gas lines and inflation, nearly 600 vendors set up in more than 800 spaces, and 13,000 spectators paid the $1 admission to sample their wares.

Within a few years, the Carlisle Fairgrounds had become a mecca for collector car enthusiasts all over the world. The runaway success of what became known as Fall Carlisle led to a similar spring event in 1977. In short order, they became complete sellouts for vendor and car corral spaces. In 1981, after renting the fairgrounds for each event, the Millers purchased the 82‐acre property. Over the years, Carlisle Events has transformed the fairgrounds to suit the needs of car show participants and visitors. Continuous improvements include paved roads, a manicured landscape and more than 10 permanent buildings. At the same time, Carlisle Events has established consumer‐friendly services such as onsite bank financing, notary and title service and a wide variety of dining choices.

The Carlisle Events Story - In the Words of Bill Miller

It was Fall Hershey 1973 which Chip and I attended faithfully for many years. We so looked forward to October each year so we could get up early every day of the AACA Fall Meet and comb every field they had to offer. This show was different because we were to be a small part of the event. We were never vendors at Hershey before but were asked by the newly forming Milestone Car Society if I knew of a special car that they could use in their booth to attract people to their booth. Richard Langworth, the now famous author of many books in the automobile world and his history of Winston Churchill was a friend of mine and was starting the Milestone Car Society. I knew Chip had a 1954 Corvette that he wanted to sell so I thought that would be the perfect car for the booth. It was a big deal for us because now we could be part of the event and we could just drive right into the middle of the event and not have to walk miles from distant parking areas.

We had placed the car in the booth, Chip reversed his business card and used it as a sign under the windshield wiper. The sign said, 1954 Corvette $6,500 will return every hour on the hour if you have interest. No cell phones back then so this was our way of meeting someone should they have interest in the car. The second hour back Chip found the business card on the floor of the car so he figured that someone had liked the car and didn’t want anyone else to know it was for sale. Chip returned the business card to the windshield. A short time later someone pulled up in a golf cart and asked who owned the car. Chip thought it was probably the person interested in the car so he greeted the person only to find out that it was an official of the meet. The official said that the Corvette was a used car and was not allowed to be sold because it was not 35 years old or older. We had no idea it did not qualify to be sold because we never got the rules of the show as the Milestone Car Society got them. 

The official got a little testy with Chip and I and I guess we got testy back and he told us to take the car off the field. They escorted us to the gate and we parked the car in a parking lot. When we returned to the show and were combing the aisles Chip said, “Isn’t it a shame that the cars we like are not considered antique cars.“  We liked cars after World War II and antique cars were pre-World War II. That gave me the idea that we should start our own event for Post War Cars.

We each put up $500, hand wrote a partnership and Post War Events came to be. We shopped around for a venue, Willow Mill Park in Mechanicsburg, the York Fairgrounds in York and the Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle. We only settled on the Carlisle Fairgrounds because it was the least expensive. We had no idea that Carlisle was the keystone of the Keystone State. With I-81, I-76 (the Pennsylvania Turnpike) and route 11 within close proximity, we quickly found that half the population of America was within 500 miles of Carlisle.  

We rented the grounds for $600, started to advertise the event as Post War ‘74 and we went to every car show and cruise in that we could find and search for vendors. We opened the gates the week before Fall Hershey 1974 in hopes that people would attend both events. We had 600 vendor spaces and 6000 people attended the first event. We charged a dollar to get in because we had to pay all our help and many people frowned on the cost because Hershey was always free. When they found that we had clean restrooms, good food, no trash and free parking the worry about the dollar soon faded. We didn’t know what to call our cars since they weren’t antique cars so we coined the term “Collector Cars.”  Today everyone uses the term collector cars. As time went on and we started Spring Carlisle ‘77 we also coined the words Car Corral. Today just about every large event has a car corral.

No one called our event Post War ‘74 it was Carlisle to everyone. AACA Fall Meet was “Hershey,” Post War ‘74 was Carlisle to them. We automatically changed to Carlisle ‘75 and the rest is history.  All these years later and we are still Carlisle and Hershey is still Hershey.

Experience Carlisle Events Today

When Chip and Bill Miller held their first car show at the Carlisle Fairgrounds in 1974, they never could have envisioned the growth and legacy of Carlisle Events.

Chip Miller passed away in 2004 and his son Lance took over not long after. It’s been a family affair ever since as Lance has carried on his dad’s “Life is Good” mentality. As the 21st century rolls forward, Bill Miller Jr., continues to be with the company, as does his son and Lance’s long-time friend, Bill Miller, III. What started as a pair of automotive flea markets in the mid to late ‘70s has spawned specialty show after specialty show. Events now include Carlisle Import & Performance, Carlisle Ford Nationals, Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals, Carlisle Chrysler Nationals, Carlisle Hurst Nationals, Carlisle Truck Nationals and Corvettes at Carlisle.

To date, Carlisle Events hosts or is part of 12 events and four collector car auctions. By popular demand, the auction portion of Carlisle Events (Carlisle Auctions) was re‐established in 2013 and prior to that, events in Allentown Pennsylvania were added. Further, Carlisle Events introduced itself to the Florida market in 2013, initially hosting events in Zephyrhills. Now, with rapid growth in Florida comes a move to Lakeland and a larger facility in the Sun ‘n Fun complex. Carlisle Events’ schedule is what it is today due to the demand for all things collector car and family fun. Events have evolved from “cars in a field” to destination activities for individuals and families from around the world. In all, more than a half a million guests visit shows promoted by Carlisle Events annually. Lakeland, Florida and Carlisle are also collector car auction locations. The Carlisle‐based events bring in $98 million annually to the local economy in Central Pennsylvania and the spring show is the organization’s biggest draw of the year with nearly 100,000 enthusiasts converging on the region.

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  • TALL Classic Cars
  • TALL Corvette America
  • TALL Meguiars
  • TALL A&A Auto Parts
  • TALL Amsoil
  • TALL Hagerty
  • TALL Rock Auto