Since the late 90s, the annual Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show has been held on Lehigh’s Goodman Campus. After two years of virtual programming, the show is returning in person to Stabler Arena and Rauch Fieldhouse from March 16 through 20.
With approximately 225 to 230 cars on display, the event will allow patrons to compare and shop for new vehicles. Brands present include BMW, Audi, Mazda and Jeep.
Allen Biddinger, Lehigh’s associate athletics director for athletic facilities and events, said that his staff has been in communication with the Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association (GLVADA) throughout the past two years, discussing when the return of the show would happen.
Tom Kwiatek, the executive director of the GLVADA, has been involved with the auto show since 2008. Kwiatek said the last two years have been difficult due to the pandemic.
Kwiatek said the GLVADA has a relationship with WFMZ-TV, a news channel serving the Lehigh Valley, Berks County and Philadelphia. Every year for the auto show, WFMZ-TV creates a 30-minute program where they get video feeds from all the car manufacturers.
“Because that has been so popular over the years, we made that the highlight of our virtual show,” Kwiatek said. “But it wasn’t as good as being with the cars and touching and feeling them.”
This year the entire auto show is taking place on Goodman Campus, with cars located in Stabler Arena and Rauch Fieldhouse.
Biddinger said for every third party event they plan, they first look at the athletics and university schedule to schedule the event accordingly. The auto show often occurs in mid March, following the Patriot League basketball tournament.
Biddinger said the set up for the show began on the morning of March 9, with a 40-meter tent constructed in one of the adjacent parking lots. The cost of the setup for the event is close to $300,000, Kwiatek said.
Kwiatek said the turnout for the show usually averages 45,000, to 50,000 people.
Biddinger will be at the event working as the Lehigh University site supervisor and event manager for some of the days.
“I look forward to every event we host because it provides visitors with a positive experience and positive impression of Lehigh University,” Biddinger said.
As a testament to the relationship between the GLVADA and Lehigh, Kwiatek said the GLVADA has pledged several million dollars to Lehigh to build a second larger fieldhouse.
Jack Morris, ‘24, plans to attend the auto show.
“I had heard about the auto show before, but since I am a sophomore I never got to attend in person,” Morris said. “I am looking forward to going and seeing all of the different cars that are shown.”
Tickets for adults cost $12, $10 for seniors, $8 for children and $30 for families. All tickets must be purchased electronically.