Horsham’s popular AmeriCARna event is back – bigger and better

With new venues, more cars, more entertainment and added sports, Horsham AmeriCARna on Sunday 30 September is all set to build on the huge success of last year’s first celebration of all things American and in particular automotive.

There will be car displays from Classic Muscle in the Bishopric and Pick-Ups on the Forum, through to Hot Rods & Customs in East Street and Classic Cruisers in the Carfax, a bigger Race Car zone at the Bowling Alley, and even more car displays and American and Custom bikes in Horsham Park.

The event is organised by Horsham District Council and partners in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice and financial sponsors include Horsham Car Centre JEEP, Pilgrim Motorsports of Small Dole, Maidstone Harley Davidson and Christs Hospital School.

Commenting on the American spectacle for Horsham Town Centre, Cabinet Member for the Local Economy Cllr Gordon Lindsay said:

“It is great news to welcome back this popular event which was first launched by the Council’s Economic Development team last year. It joins our already packed programme of festivals and events under the Horsham Time Well Spent banner.

“Set to rival our popular annual Easter festival, Piazza Italia, I am sure that this celebration of retro America will be just as entertaining and successful and will be a real crowd puller, just as it was last year.

Please come along, don you retro costumes and join in the fun.”

As the event grows, more town businesses are getting involved this year including Mr. Simms, who will have an amazing range of American sweets and the new limited edition Crystal Pepsi on sale, Toy Barnhaus will give away a free collector’s edition hot wheels car with every purchase and Chococo are raffling a seriously large chocolate number plate shaped slab of chocolate. The Crown Pub will have Budweiser and Jim Beam Cocktails on promotion, tea/coffee and an evening quiz, whilst The Horsham Wine Cellar will have a special sampling of American wines.

Thanks to Swan Walk Shopping Centre, Dream Cars have created a great little model display of classic American cars in a range of scales, promoting the event in an available shopfront in the centre. The St Catherine’s shops in East Street and the Bishopric are already decked out in an American decor.

You will be able to recognise businesses that are involved by a set of red, white and blue balloons outside their shopfronts. A ‘Spirit of Horsham AmeriCARna’ award for the best American dressed town business will be made by the Council’s Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 team.

A best dressed guy and gal competition is being run by Retroesque, who will return to the town in the Carfax for the day, and the Bishopric’s Apache Menswear store.

So dress up in your best 50s/60’s gear and join in the fun by taking a selfie at the show and posting it to  #horshamamericarna and #retroesqueuk or #apachemenswear – and you might win a prize!

There will be market stalls and street food in the Bishopric, the Carfax and Horsham Park – all will have a distinctly American look and feel and offer American menus. Hepworths are sponsoring a nine stop American Beer Trail, starting in the Carfax with their Crazy Horse ale and with a prize draw for those finishing supported by Brewhouse & Kitchen.

Music and musical theatre acts including Christs Hospital School’s productions of Bugsy Malone and West Side Story will perform on the bandstand, in the Nature Garden and The REC Rooms stages from late morning to 3pm when The Almost Elvis Band present the finale show before the vehicles cruise away from 4pm.

A 40th Anniversary sing-along tribute to Grease is in store for those in the Carfax after the town centre cars leave, so be sure to stick around for this  and the added Park Cars & Bikes Cruise Out which could continue past 5.15pm.

The themed entertainment kicks off at The REC Rooms (below the Bowling Alley) on Friday and Saturday night with ticketed appearances on 28 September by vintage Rock & Roll trio – Ben Pryer and The Lucky Dogs and on 29 September by The James Taylor Quartet, widely renowned exponents of the coolest sounds in funky acid jazz.

The REC Rooms are also the ‘on-the-day’ venue for classic American slot car racing by Horsham Rotary, the Seaboard Southern American railroad layout and the STEAMcademy Music Machine.

Other entertainments keeping the buzz going around the town and park feature a Dixieland Marching Band, Mike the DJ spinning tunes and compering for St Catherine’s Hospice from the Carfax bandstand.

Sussex Thunder, our local Brighton based American Football Club will be making a rare visit to Horsham arriving in an original US School Bus before taking to Horsham Park to practice some plays and pose for photos. UK Baseball will also be in evidence with the Horsham Broncos playing the Chichester Falcons and being on hand to answer questions. There will also be free ten pin bowling coaching at The REC Rooms.

Expected to be a big attraction again this year is an expanded race car and service vehicles display which will be at the front of the Bowling Alley (now The REC Rooms) and includes an authentic American School Bus provided by Southern Transit Bus Company, offering ride outs in return for donations to St Catherine’s Hospice (from 11am).

New to the event is a display of some 20  ‘movie cars’ presented in Horsham Park and featuring an eclectic collection from Knight Rider and Smokey & the Bandit, to Del Trotter’s 3-wheeler (okay it’s not American but it is FUN!).

Over a dozen different enthusiasts groups and clubs will have vehicles attending the day with dedicated displays in the park by two Harley Davidson chapters – Hogs Back and Maidstone, Oddballs, Kent Breakfast Meet, Surrey Mustang and founder event partners, Classic Corvette Club UK. In addition to the very latest showroom and customised customer models, Horsham JEEP’s sponsorship includes a special Military Jeep collection in Horsham Park thanks to the Capel Military Show.

Trophies for the best vehicles in show will be presented on the Carfax bandstand from 2.30pm by show partners new and old as follows:

  • Best Vehicle in Show by Les Searle Group of Horsham
  • Best Classic Muscle Car by Pilgrim Motorsports of Small Dole
  • Best Custom Bike by P&D Custom Bikes of Slinfold
  • Best American Motorbike by Maidstone Harley Davidson
  • Best Classic Cruiser by Dream Cars of Redhill
  • Best Commerical (pick-up) by Horsham Forge
  • Best Custom Car or Hot Rod by American Autoparts of Redhill

Also happening over the weekend is the Pink Gift and Wellbeing Fair for Cancer Research in the Council’s Parkside offices on Chart Way, Horsham.


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