By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published May 04, 2021 at 4:01 PM

Get your engines revved up and ready this week for the opening lap of the Milwaukee Car & Truck Show, pulling out of the driveway on Wednesday, May 5 and burning rubber at the Expo Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park until the checkered flag comes down on the annual automotive party on Sunday, May 9.

For a full look at the map of exhibitors speeding into the Expo Center this weekend or information on how to snag your tickets, check out the Auto Show's website. But we know you've got a need for speed – especially after a year inside, going nowhere fast – so here's a quick lap through some of the coolest car displays and automotive activities gloriously drifting through State Fair Park this week.

1. Preview the future

The prize showcase of the Milwaukee Auto Show is, obviously, the automobiles, most notably the new fleet of cars and trucks primed to hit the pavement this year, next year or perhaps even far off into the future. This year's edition will feature hundreds of new vehicles to check out – from major manufacturers like Ford, Chevy, Toyota and Nissan to just name a few, as well as fancy luxury brands including Jaguar, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and more. That's a lot of new car smell to savor.

Best of all, the Auto Show is a non-imposing and non-selling atmosphere, more about discovery and learning than peddling or pushing – so feel free to window-shop and admire these new rides (such as the 2021 versions of the Ford Bronco Sport, the Toyota Highlander, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Nissan Kicks and hundreds more) without guilt or stress. 

2. Get behind the wheel for real

Last year's Milwaukee Auto Show featured several state-of-the-art virtual reality simulators to put inside all sorts of vehicles and experiences. But you know what's even better than than getting behind the wheel in virtual reality? Getting behind the wheel in ACTUAL reality. That's right: This year's Auto Show will feature several Ford vehicles – including the Ford Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, the Bronco Sport, the Explorer ST SUV and the 2021 F-150 pickup – available not just to admire in park but to take for a spin yourself. 

Test drives will be available for those over 18 with a valid driver's license on Wednesday from 3-7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. So get ready for the only kind of test anyone's ever looked forward to.

3. Autos unlike any other

The new cars rolling out onto the Expo Center floor and eventually onto the roads may be the stars, but any good gearhead knows that retro rides have an awesome and classic style all of the their own, worthy of a spotlight at the Auto Show. So be sure to flip it in reverse and go back in time with the help of the Bennett Coachworks showcase, featuring a collection of unique gorgeously revamped classic cars from one of the largest auto restorations and custom car firms in the area. 

And for a bonus blast through the past, thanks to the size and space of the Auto Show's new State Fair Park venue, the event will feature its first classic car show on Saturday and Sunday, with collectors showing off their restored and revamped old-school beauties in the hopes of putting some gold in their garages.

With all of that, the Auto Show is basically the fastest and coolest history lesson you'll ever experience. 

4. Sip & Savor

There will be plenty of Motor City representation on the Expo Center grounds – but what about Brew City? Don't worry; Milwaukee's finest export – beer – will also make a glorious and gulp-worthy apperance at the Milwaukee Auto Show as you're cordially invited to its special Sip & Savor tasting event on Thursday, May 6.

From 6:30-9 p.m., 27 craft brewers – including names like Lakefront Brewery, The Explorium, Mobcraft, New Barons and many more – will serve up more than 70 tasty beers to sample along with dishes and snacks from the likes of Double B's BBQ, Apple Spice Catering and Carrie's Crispies. It is a separately ticketed feature with $25 tickets available online through May 6 and $30 tickets available onsite. It's the perfect way to satisfy your need for feed as well as the need for speed. 

5. Learn from a legend

The cars may be the stars at the Milwaukee Auto Show, but as of current writing, there's going to be a literal racing celebrity in attendance at this year's event: Al Unser Jr., famed racecar driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion. On Saturday, May 8 from 1-5 p.m., Unser Jr. is scheduled to park himself at the Auto Show to chat with fans, sign autographs and share some stories from his impressive racing career and his incredible racing family. And while you may never be a racer like Al Unser Jr., you can live vicariously through his stories – plus maybe he'll have some advice on how to finally hit that one light you always get stuck at.

(Note: Due to the unfortunate passing of Al Unser Jr's uncle, fellow racecar legend Bobby Unser, this week, Al's appearance at the Auto Show is more-than-understandably up in the air. For updates, visit the Auto Show's website or Facebook page.)

6. Hit the road and the links

It's not just about hitting green lights at the Milwaukee Auto Show; it's also about hitting the green with its Tricky Trails mini-golf course. For a minimum donation of $2 to Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin, take a break from the cars for some competition as you make your way through 18 holes of putting perfection, nimbly knocking your way along the course – complete with a chance to win some sweet prizes. It's a four-star distraction during your day at the Auto Show – or should I say FORE!-star distraction?


What's a great way to make a fun event even better? Add puppies. (And kittens!) Thanks to the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County, Fetch Wisconsin Rescue and Subaru of America (more like SuBARKu; I'm so sorry, I'm trying to remove it), the Milwaukee Auto Show will have adorable and, most importantly, adoptable dogs and cats every show day looking for their new forever homes. With these precious animals in attendance, the Milwaukee Auto Show is guaranteed to be fast and furry-ous time. (I apologize again; I have a problem.)

And that's just a bit of all the automotive action headed to the Expo Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park starting this weekend, so get your engines ready for the Milwaukee Auto Show – and, most importantly, get your tickets. Admission is $10 for adults (13 and over) online before the show starts, $11 online during the show and $12 on site. Senior citizens 62 years old and more are $9 (Wednesday through Friday only) while children 6-12 years old cost $6 – except on Family Day on Sunday when all kids 12 and under are free. Plus, there's an opening day special with $6 tickets for Wednesday at the Auto Show's website.

The Milwaukee Auto Show will run May 5-9, with doors open Wednesday from 3-9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. 

For more information on the rest of the vendors and exhibits, as well as tickets, visit the Milwaukee Auto Show's website

This content is in partnership with Milwaukee Auto Show. Vroom over there! 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.