Each January we all look forward toward what is going to happen in the New Year. The whole concept of the New Year is a new beginning, the chance to start anew and bring about different and original opportunities. For me in this column, that’s hard to do.

The whole concept of classic and collectible cars is lodged in the past. These are older vehicles from by gone days that people, for whatever personal reason, feel akin to and want to help preserve. Enjoying classic cars is like taking a trip through a time machine and going back to the 1960s or the 1920s or the 1970s or the 1890s. We look at one of these practical works of art and either remember what it was like back then or wonder how things actually were.

What you might see at the Cavalcade of Customs (photo: Mark R. Turner)

But just because classic cars drive us back through the years doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons for those of us into this hobby to be looking forward. There are a lot of things for those of us into classics to be excited about in 2014. In fact, by the time this is published, the first big event for car buffs will have already happened: the 54th Annual KOI Cavalcade of Customs. If you happened to miss this fabulous annual event showcasing some of the best custom cars in the country, you can check out some of what was there on my blog: http://turnerbudds-carblog.blogspot.com/.

There are lots of car shows in this area to warm the hearts of any classic car fan. Being outdoor events, much of these are scheduled for the warmer summer months. In fact, we generally don’t consider our car show season to open until April. There is still a lot to do and see even before then.

One of many cars at Fuel (photo: Mark R. Turner)

Depending on the weather, you can find car fans pulling into Fuel Coffee at 2726 Riverside Dr. near downtown (https://www.facebook.com/FuelCoffeeCincy) to take part in their Coffee and Cars event. This is a year-round meeting of car lovers that, obviously, is dependent on the weather. But since we almost always seem to have a nice warm(er) patch of weather during January and February, this is the perfect place to get your fix and to enjoy some coffee and some good food as well. A word of warning, though, as the weather gets warmer more and more people will show up and finding a place to park among all the cool classics can be difficult. But trust me, it’s worth it.

There are also a number of cruise-in events that occur depending on the weather. All three locations of Quaker Steak and Lube (http://thelube.com/) host themed cruise-ins for both cars and bikes. Plus, if you get cold you can go inside, check out the cool car and bike memorabilia and grab some tasty wings or other food.

Who's ready for a cruise-in? (photo: Mark R. Turner)

Highway 55 (http://hwy55burgers.com/) in the Eastgate Plaza near the new Jungle Jim’s also sponsors cruise-ins. This ‘50s style diner with a life sized ‘57 Chevy as part of its sign takes its roots in car culture seriously. And who knows, if you go inside for a burger you might get waited on by Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe. Other burger chains that host cruise-ins around the Tri-State are locations of Steak ‘N Shake (http://www.steaknshake.com/) and Sonic Drive-In (http://www.sonicdrivein.com/).

If you don’t want to risk the weather there are still a few things to do during these colder months. In fact, if you are a car fan and actually want to take a look at the future there is the annual Cincinnati Auto Expo at the Convention Center from February 19-23 (http://cincinnatiautoexpo.com/). Here you can see the latest offerings from just about every automaker, many with the doors open for folks to take a seat behind the wheel and imagine what it would be like to drive a particular car. Even though I’m a classic car guy I always try to make it to the Convention Center that weekend to see what may become a future classic.

If you are aching to see some great classic cars on display indoors and can’t wait for the weather to warm up then all you have to do is take a little drive north to Wilmington and the Roberts Center (http://www.robertscentre.com/). The weekend of Feb. 22-23 this convention center hosts the 5th Annual Chizzaz Valentines Car Show. It’s a great winter fix filled with some outstanding classic cars.

But we’re all about the classics here, and April is when they really start rolling. On April 19 the largest cruise-in in Southern Ohio will take place at the Steak N Shake at 1095 St. Rt. 28 in Milford as the Lonnie Winter Memorial Cruise rolls into the region.

One of the cars at last year's Sharonville show (photo: Mark R. Turner)

Then, on the 27th of April, the Sunday before Mother’s Day, the 37th Annual Sharonville Classic Car Show (http://www.sharonvillechamber.com/index.php?page=Car) fills the Sharonville Loop with hundreds of great cars. This is always seen as the kick off to the car show season and is always the first time you can pick up the must have Show and Shine Calendar (http://showandshinecalendar.com/) that is the most comprehensive list of shows and other car events in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. (To find out more about the Show and Shine Calendar, go back in time and read this article http://cincinnatiprofile.com/2012/08/auto/the-car-show-bible/.)

From May through September you can find a car show just about every weekend and a cruise-in or two every week. You could spend your entire spring, summer and fall going from car event to car event and see thousands of great automobiles put on display.

Best in Show at the 2012 Ault Park Concours d'Elegance (photo:Mark R. Turner)

If you are more discerning and only want to see the cream of the classic car crop then you are the kind of person who wants to check out the Concours d’Elegance. Here in the Tri-State we are lucky to have one of the oldest and most widely praised Concours events in the entire country. Officially known as the Ohio Concours d’Elegance (http://ohioconcours.com/), it is more popularly known around here for its location, the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance.  Each May I do a column highlighting some aspect of this event and my blog is filled with a couple of weeks’ worth of posts showing off the great vehicles that are on display. Benefiting the Arthritis Foundation, June 8 marks the 37th installment of this Concours.

Each year the Ault Park Concours has a special featured theme as well as a few marques that are highlighted. This is in addition to the 13 classes of cars and motorcycles that are always on display. This year’s theme is Art of the Automobile and will show off the great milestones in design. In addition there will be a special display celebrating 50 Years of the Mustang, another highlighting Microcars and the one I’m most looking forward to, the 100th Anniversary of the Maserati. As always this is a must see event if you are even slightly interested in automobiles.

Ault Park isn’t the only Concours within a short drive of us. If you want to see a great display of amazing vehicles and maybe even check out one of the country’s top car museums, then head up to Indianapolis in May for the fourth annual Celebration of Automobiles (http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/indy500/news/show/52424-celebration-of-automobiles-returns-to-launch-month-of-may/). On May 10 the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will once again be the home of historic and vintage cars from 1910 through 1970 with a special section of cars manufactured in Indiana. Yes, believe it or not, Indiana was at one time a hotbed for automotive manufacturing. If you run into me here, ask me to tell the story of how I managed to break the winning Indy 500 car on the finish line one year.

And while you’re at the Celebration of Automobiles you can check out the IMS Hall of Fame museum (http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/facility/35204-Museum/) which is often called one of the best car museums in the country. In fact, if you’re interested in seeing some of the many car museums in our region, go back and read my overview piece (http://cincinnatiprofile.com/2013/06/auto/an-adventure-behind-the-wheel/). You can also find a vast listing of automobile museums collected by Hub Cap Café (http://www.hubcapcafe.com/resources/classic_car_museums_states.htm).

Best in Show at the 2012 Keeneland Concours (photo: Mark R. Turner)

Another short drive from us to the Bluegrass of Lexington will take you to a Concours event that is growing a strong national reputation. On July 19 the grass at Keeneland will be covered with an array of high quality vehicles as the 10th Annual Keeneland Concours d’Elegance (http://keenelandconcours.com/) takes place. Like other Concours events, this attracts some of the rarest and more beautiful cars in the country. A unique aspect to this event is that regional car clubs are invited to take part by parking in what is called the Paddock. Last year over 400 cars were there giving spectators the opportunity to see a very large car show in addition to the Concours.

Toward the end of summer you can take a short ride north on I-75 to see the Dayton Concours d’Elegance (http://www.daytonconcours.com/). This will be the seventh year of this event which is held at Carillon Park just off the highway. The organizers are promising 200 vintage automobiles and motorcycles will be on display for this event. In a beautiful park setting and only an hour away it is well worth the trip.

The Citizen's Motor Car Museum in Dayton (photo: Mark R. Turner)

While you’re in Dayton, you might want to take the time to check out the fabulous Citizen’s Motor Car Museum (http://www.americaspackardmuseum.org/). Dubbed America’s Packard Museum, there is one of the finest collections of that iconic marque on display. This has also been called one of the top automotive museums in the country.

Since you’re up that way, why not take a short trip west on I-70 to check out the Model T Ford Club of America Museum (http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/museum.htm) which was featured in my column last month. Located in Richmond, Indiana, it has some of the most unique early Fords on display. Also located in Richmond is the Wayne County Historical Society Museum (http://waynecountyhistoricalmuseum.org/) which has a wing dedicated to Indiana’s automotive past. All of these museums were highlighted in my article on regional museums.

Check out the Wayne County History Museum! (photo: Mark R. Turner)

The following week a little further north in Ohio, the Concours d’Elegance at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens (http://concours.stanhywet.org/) will take place in Akron. Announced features of this year’s event will be Pierce-Arrow, Packard Darrin, Maserati, various Cord models, and a salute to American woodies.

Another Concours event to consider when making your plans is the Louisville Concours d’Elegance (http://www.louisvilleconcours.com/schedule.html) held on Sunday, Oct. 6. Though called the Louisville Concours it is actually held at French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana and will see over 100 beautiful machines on display.

One more note on the Concours: If you are planning to travel this year you might want to check out the dates for Concours events around the country at http://www.concoursdates.com/.

Even if you only attend a few of these Concours events you will see some of the most spectacular cars you will ever lay eyes on. Add to that all of the amazing museums in the region and the huge number of shows and cruise-ins you will be able to find in your Show and Shine Calendar and 2014 is certainly worth looking forward to. Enjoy the ride.