Daytona Beach, Florida: a year-round destination for vacationers, thrill seekers, and of course, gearheads! This vibrant city hosts many major events annually including Daytona Bike Week, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Coke Zero Sugar 400, and the famous Daytona 500. Daytona International Speedway is also host to the largest combined collector car show, swap meet, and car corral in the United States — the Turkey Run!
“The Turkey Run was created in 1974 by the Daytona Beach Street Rods Association. The club’s president, Stu Sarjeant, had previously attempted to enter his 1923 Ford Hot Rod in the Ormond Beach 1973 Gaslight Parade but was denied as no modified cars were permitted. Sarjeant said, “my four-year-old son started to cry, and we decided right then and there we would have a show of our own. And that’s exactly what we did the following year.” The first Turkey Run hosted 45 cars and was held at the Howard Johnson hotel across from Bellair Plaza.
Continuing to grow, the show moved to Seabreeze High School in 1982 and added a swap meet. By 1987, the Turkey Run had grown to more than 900 cars and relocated to a property at the Daytona Beach Airport.
In 1989, the Daytona Beach Street Rods Association partnered with the Daytona Beach Racing and Recreational Facilities District and found a permanent home in the infield of Daytona International Speedway. By this time, the show had grown to over 1,520 show quality cars and 250 swap meet vendors. In 1990, building on the success of the Turkey Run, the Spring Daytona Turkey Run was created. The show welcomed more than 800 cars its first year.
Currently the Daytona Turkey Run hosts nearly 7,000 vintage, classic, muscle, and race cars and trucks for show and sale in the fall, and over 2,000 in the spring. In addition, guests are treated to a massive swap meet in which vendors sell and trade hard-to-find auto parts and accessories, Artisan Alley, entertainment, and a full midway of food vendors.
The 46th Annual Daytona Turkey Run took place from November 28th through December 1st and was the largest event to date. We were treated to bright sunny weather as thousands of vendors, exhibitors, and spectators filed into the infield of the 2.5-mile super speedway. As we made our way to this highly anticipated event, we were immediately overwhelmed by the sheer size of the event and everything it had to offer for the entire family. We started off browsing the vintage race car corral and found some real gems, including “Fireball Roberts” Ford Galaxie stock car and several other classic Ford asphalt and dirt race cars. We then immersed ourselves in the swap meet area where we found everything from hard-to-find car parts to vintage signs and collectibles. We spoke to several patrons who told us that they travel to this event just to grab those sought-after parts they need for their projects, or for the plethora of collectibles. We set our sights on the car corral which would take us days to get through. It is there that we saw some amazing Fords, from vintage Model As to late model customized Mustangs, lifted trucks, and everything in between! We will let the pictures do the talking!
The annual Turkey Run was truly a sight to see, or better yet, experience. Visitors came from coast to coast to include over a dozen different nations represented. Car corals, a swap meet, kids’ zone, dozens of food vendors, and the best and rarest of Ford automobiles could be found here at the Daytona Turkey Run!