With two nights of movies on the world's largest HDTV, Twiggy the water skiing squirrel and an expanded POWERADE Play Zone just for kids, there's more than ever for families to do at the Food Lion AutoFair, which returns Sept. 20-23.
Photo: CMS/HHP

What good would the world’s largest automotive extravaganza be if you couldn’t share it with your loved ones? When the Sept. 20-23 Food Lion AutoFair kicks off at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attractions to entertain the whole family will include a squirrel on skis, movies on the big screen and the POWERADE Play Zone; and children 13 and under get in the gate for free.

The fall Food Lion AutoFair features more than 50 car club displays and more than 7,000 vendor spaces that offer a vast array of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway. In addition, up to 200 cars will be auctioned by Dealer Auctions Inc.

This year’s marquee performer is Twiggy, a gray squirrel whose water-skiing act has created some of the most famous video clips in the world. For 27 years, millions of people have enjoyed Twiggy’s death-defying aquatic maneuvers in person, on the internet and on television programs such as “Good Morning America.” For the first time ever, AutoFair attendees can see the famous rodent jump wakes during several performances in Victory Circle on Friday (at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.).

Nothing says nostalgia like watching classic films outdoors on the world’s largest high-definition television screen, which is why the speedway is holding its first-ever AutoFair movie night. On Friday evening at 6:30 p.m., Charlotte Motor Speedway will fire up its 200x80-foot backstretch home theater and treat AutoFair attendees to “American Graffitti,” George Lucas’ hot rod-heavy coming-of-age film. Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. will feature Steve McQueen and his 1968 Mustang fastback in “Bullitt.” An AutoFair ticket stub is all it takes to get a seat in the grandstands and listen to the action through the track’s public address system or FM receiver.

The ever-popular POWERADE Play Zone will be open in the Nationwide Garage area on Friday (from noon to 5:30 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) with a petting zoo, pony rides, Ferris wheel, bounce house, face painting, wax hands, balloon animals and bounce houses. In addition to the regular Play Zone hours, the Fan Van will be open for entertainment on Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m.

“We want everybody to enjoy the Food Lion AutoFair as much as we do,” said Charlotte Motor Speedway President and General Manager Marcus Smith. “That’s why we listen to feedback and keep bringing in affordable family fun. This year, we’ve made the Food Lion AutoFair more kid-friendly than ever by adding movie nights and a water-skiing squirrel.”

Hours for the Sept. 20-23 Food Lion AutoFair are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Ticket prices are $10 per day for adults or $25 for a four-day pass; children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5. For more information on the four-day event, contact the speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.