Started 17 years ago, the Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival in downtown Lakeland has turned into one of the see-and-be-seen events for antique automobile aficionados.

Once a visitor steps foot near Lake Mirror during the Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival in Lakeland, they’ll quickly realize this isn’t your run-of-the-mill antique car event. For while your uncle’s old Ford might have a spot here, it better be a 1935 Ford Model 48 that looks better than the day it rolled off the showroom floor.

Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival
Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival

We get some pretty big hitters in the classic car world to come out here. This is the Pebble Beach crowd.

— Ford Heacock III, Event Organizer

Highlights of this year’s event include the rare combination of prototypes CERV 1 and CERV 2 on display. The prototypes – CERV stands for Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle – were developed in the early 1960s. 

Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival
Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival

Today, both are thought of as remarkable development vehicles, having pioneered many of the technologies we take for granted in our cars today. 

Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival Lakeland Florida
Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival Lakeland Florida

With more than 40,000 spectators expected over the two day event, expect a large but polite crowd amongst the classic cars. The events kick off Friday with an outdoor concert by Junior and the MDs at Lake Mirror as well as the Heacock Insurance New Car Show, both at 6:00 p.m. And when the music takes a break around 8 p.m., the participants in the Budweiser Hot Rod Rendezvous will let their engines roar around the lake. A hot rod parade will take to the streets of Lakeland around 9:00 p.m.

Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival
Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival

On Saturday, events kick off at 10:00 a.m. as the Concours D’ Elegance, opens around Lake Mirror, featuring a judged competition of 100 top-of-the-line vintage vehicles from around the world. At the same time, vintage wood boats will take the lake and one of the largest displays of vintage motorcycles will be available for viewing. Downtown, the city of Lakeland will be turned into an open car show as well as vendors. An awards ceremony will cap the day at 3:00 p.m.

You may also be interested in Lakeland, Lakeland Brewing Company, Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille, or Polk Museum of Art.