Dignitaries opening Thursday night's Chicago Auto Show and its newest street festival element.

Dignitaries opening Thursday night's Chicago Auto Show and its newest street festival element.

The Chicago Auto Show opened to the public Thursday, July 15 and included new outdoor experiences, test drives and an evening street fest. The indoor-outdoor event took place inside McCormick Place’s West Building and outdoors along Indiana Avenue. This marks the first time in history that the show, traditionally hosted in February, will be held in the summertime, taking advantage of an outdoor space to bring attendees new test track experiences, dozens of vehicles to test drive and even electric vehicle demonstrations designed to showcase the latest cars, trucks and SUVs to consumers.

The new Street Fest element was presented last night beginning with a short program. Attendees heard remarks from several dignitaries, including Governor J.B. Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Secretary of State Jesse White and David Sloan, President of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. The Fest will be held each evening through July 18 and includes an array of new cars, trucks and SUVs parked along Indiana Avenue; local food from pop-up food trucks and tents including Smoke Daddy, Connie’s Pizza and Prime Tacos; tasty sweets from a A.Sweets Girl cupcake truck, local brews from Chicago-based Goose Island; and music by varying local musicians spanning an array of genres.

Outdoor activations include Ford’s "Built Wild and Built to Electrify' consumer experiences, both of which are making their global debut in Chicago. Built Wild features a 30,000-sq.-ft. custom experience where auto show attendees can participate in a series of hands-on activations. Built to Electrify brings consumers a 11,000 sq.-ft. experience showcasing how Ford will charge into the electric revolution with a range of vehicles, both retail and commercial, including the all-new Ford F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit.

Volkswagen is offering its VW ID.4 Roadshow EV education and test drive activation to attendees, also located outdoors along Indiana Avenue. Additional outdoor test drive opportunities will be offered by Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Jeep, Kia, Lincoln, Ram and Subaru. Interested attendees may register for the test drives on the show floor in the manufacturer exhibits or in the corridor along Indiana Avenue.

Indoors, auto show fans enjoyed favorites like the Camp Jeep and Ram Truck Territory test tracks as well as Subaru’s popular pet adoption event. Visitors to opening day also were able to be the first to see newly unveiled vehicles including the: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, 2022 Ford Maverick, 2022 Jeep Compass, 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon Package, 2022 Lexus NX, 2022 Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan Z Proto, 2022 Ram 1500 Laramie G/T & 1500 Rebel G/T, 2022 Ram 1500 BackCountry Edition, 2022 Ram 1500 Limited 10th Anniversary Edition, 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross, 2022 Toyota GR 86 and 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R.

The 2021 Chicago Auto Show special edition will run Thursday, July 15 through Monday, July 19 and will be held in McCormick Place's West Building and along Indiana Avenue. Tickets for the show are sold exclusively online, ChicagoAutoShow.com

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