The 8th annual CarFest will be held March 31 and April 1-2, 2023, in San Antonio, Texas, at the Freeman Expo Hall. Hours are Friday 6 pm-11 pm, Saturday 10 am-11 pm, and Sunday 10 am-6 pm Sunday. This free three-day festival is family-friendly and open to the public.
“Our three-part mission is to serve the public, the youth, and those in need,” says Louie Sirianni, president of the Community of Automobile Professionals (CAP), the 501(c)3 behind the project.
“At its heart, CarFest is about lifting mechanics and others in the auto industry,” Sirianni said, a family repair shop owner. CAP started in 2016 to direct attention toward the auto industry as it faces an increasing lack of skilled, passionate workers.
As part of this mission, CarFest presents CareerFest in a building adjacent to the Freeman Expo Hall, where 25 employers ranging from auto parts stores to dealerships interview recent grads referred by local tech schools to place the students in meaningful employment.
The public can enter to win a free car! Sponsors Jasper Engines & Transmissions, Red McCombs, BG, and O’Reilly Auto Parts allow us to give away a free vehicle every 2 hours, starting Saturday at 12pm. The cars are used and in good condition. Those over 18 with a Texas driver’s license or active or retired military can enter the raffle in person during the event.
As part of the charity festival’s mission, “unity in the community,” 25 car repair shops donate time and amounts to fix cars for 25 people in need who are selected by local non-profits that work with them. Repairs are done on-site Saturday and Sunday with the help of interested youth.
If all this doesn’t rev your engine, we also have an outdoor carnival with rides and games this year. Friday night features a cruise-in, food truck competition, BBQ cook-off, DJ, mechanical bull, concessions, 50+ retail vendors, and over 100 collector cars on display.
Saturday and Sunday, our community stage will host over a dozen acts, including performances by the Texas Children’s Choir, a comedy show sponsored by Upstage Comedy Lounge, martial artists, dancers, singers, and more.
There’s an artisan market with unique treasures and an auto swap meet for car enthusiasts to trade memorabilia and car parts. Young entrepreneurs 18 and under will have space to sell their arts and crafts, and non-profits will showcase their public services.
For the kiddos, we have a kid car driving area and free car giveaways, cornhole, and soft play. Students turning 15-17 in 2023 learn the basics of maintaining a car and take part in fun activities like a distracted driving simulator as part of our New Driver Workshop. Those participating can win two of the ten free car giveaways. Registration can be done online at carfestsa.org
Other activities include the carnival, a fishing pond, a shooting simulator, junior ax throwing, and a mechanical bull. Don’t get caught in CarFest Jail; your friends may need to bail you out for a small donation.
The festival expects 15,000 people to attend over three days.