• Pamela Froman

Ventura Nationals

The 17th annual Ventura Nationals are here – and they feature a ton of classic beauties – customs, hot rods, choppers and vintage motorcycles, vans, lowriders and retro trailers.

Promoters Holly Stein and Aaron Stein grew up around cars and they truly appreciate a custom builds' unique charm. “I've been going to car shows with my family ever since I was young,” says Holly. “Ventura Nationals is a representation and gathering of classic American cars and motorcycles, and the show brings in people from all over, even Australia and New Zealand!”

Ventura is the perfect setting for Ventura Nationals because people explore the area and cruise the coast. “We celebrate people that drive and build their cars – it's about the custom lifestyle,” says Holly. “The show began with people that liked to work on their cars, or just hang out in their garages listening to music.”

Kick off this fun-filled weekend Friday night in Downtown Ventura at The Majestic Theatre showcasing the artwork of Rob Struven, this years poster artist. Lost Angels Children’s Project will debut the ‘Custom Car Giveaway’ a 1959 El Camino as well as sharing more information about LACP ( It's a perfect welcome! 

What makes these vehicles so special? “It's that authenticity and that feeling, you can actually work on and customize these cars – this is an art form,” says Holly. The show features and celebrates pre-1968 cars and motorcycles as well as 1974 vans and lowriders. There is also a store at the Festival where you can buy merchandise like t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, air fresheners, and stickers as well items from past shows like artwork.

There will be plenty of entertainment at the festival on Saturday. Join musicians Jesse Dayton, Tom Kenny & The Hi-Seas, The Moontones, Eddie and the Scorpions and the Rockin' Henrys. As well, there will be vendors, displays, and an art show where custom culture artists have their works displayed. The car and bike awards begin at 4 p.m., with 12 categories – and winners receive a moon disc. This is followed by the draw for this year’s Lost Angles Children's Project ‘Custom Car Giveaway.’

And the fun isn't over yet! Sunday morning cruise over to the 8th Annual Reliability Run. With a 9 a.m. meet up at Plaza Park in Downtown, you'll take a ride along the coast and through the beautiful backroads of Ventura, around Lake Casitas and down thru Ojai. The cruise ends at Noble Fabrication for the annual ’Endless Summer Gathering’.  There will also be second destination which will be held at the ‘Murphy Auto Museum’ in Oxnard hosted by The Daily Driver Project and Fireball Tim. The museum will be open with discounted entry for all participants and plenty of parking for all traditional hot rods and customs.  Murphys will be open from 6 a.m. starting with ‘Fireball Tims Cars and Coffee’ until 3 p.m.

Whether you love working on your own car or just like to peruse the classics, check out Ventura Nationals! The festival takes place on Labor Day weekend in Ventura at the Ventura Fairgrounds. Tickets are $15 per adult, $10 for military and kids are free. Show off your car for $35, where the gate is open at 6 a.m. Spectator gates are open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information, log onto

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