Considering attending a NAMGBR annual convention for the very first time? We hope this guide will prove useful and answer some questions you may have. This will assist you with what to do before the event and once you are there. As some of the things to do once you arrive may have a dependency on what you need to do before the event, please read through the entire guide to help you plan and prepare most effectively.
Before The Event
Here’s some of the things we recommend that you consider in advance of the event to prepare to sign up and then get to the convention.
It is important that you register online for the upcoming convention. Once your registration has been processed you will receive hotel booking information. Typically, attendees prefer to stay at the host hotel, which is where the on-site activities such as tech sessions usually take place. You are free to make your own arrangements for accommodations if the host hotel is not to your liking but, you will not be as close to the action. We highly recommend staying at the host hotel. Booking as soon as registration opens will likely ensure you of a spot at the host hotel. Booking a block of rooms for your fellow local club is not allowed due to no-shows. It’s a first come, first served system to ensure fairness.
NAMGBR members enjoy discounted registration fees in addition to the other benefits a NAMGBR membership provides. If you are traveling from a distance to an event, a copy of the Mutual Aid Directory can be very beneficial if you run into any car trouble en-route. Membership in NAMGBR helps to support a 100% volunteer/member run organization whose goal is to promote our hobby and to ensure longevity and survival.
Often local clubs will arrange club convoys/caravans to these national conventions. It is worth your while to seek a local MG club in your area and inquire if a group drive to the event is being arranged. Better yet, arrange one yourself. Volunteering is one of the most rewarding aspects of our hobby. You get out what you put in.
We understand that not all cars will be driven to the convention. Trailer parking is usually available at a NAMGBR convention so if you are considering bringing you car on a trailer, rest assured that accommodations for your trailer will be provided for the duration of the convention. However, please note that it is not always possible to have this trailer parking on site at the host hotel. This is simply a factor of the event location and it may be that a remote location for trailers is the only option.
At The Event
Hopefully you had a wonderful experience just getting to the convention location. The drives can be a great adventure all by themselves. Once you arrive the things listed below will help you get settled into the event.
Typically, the first thing attendees do at a large MG gathering, such as a NAMGBR convention, is to visit the registration desk and pick up their registration package. You will receive a warm welcome in addition to your registration packet. You will also be able to pick up any pre-ordered regalia/swag. Typically, the registration is in a conference room at the host hotel.
There will typically be vendors at the host hotel and at the car show field. Looking for a hard to find part or book? Visit the vendors area to browse their selection of MG related products.
First Timers Meet & Greet
Attend this! This activity opens the event on the first evening of the convention and welcomes all participants but especially first timers such as yourself. You will get the opportunity to meet the NAMGBR board members and registrars plus enjoy some refreshments and make new friends, a perfect way to start.
Most conventions will have various driving events. Rallyes, self-guided tours, funkhanas and track days have all been included in the past. Pick the ones that suit your tastes and sign up if there are still some openings. Typically, the online event registration includes options to select and register for these events that may be limited in numbers or have an additional fee.
There will usually be guided tours on offer. These tours will visit local attractions such as museums or tourist sites. These activities are usually ticketed and require advance registration, so we encourage you to select the tours that interest you when you register for the convention.
There will likely be tech sessions taking place in the conference rooms of the host hotel. These are typically free and attendance at these sessions are included with your registration fee. You can learn some very valuable info and hopefully walk away with a little bit more MG knowledge.
Rolling Tech Session
Car running a little hot? Have a noise you just can’t figure out? Run your car through the legendary John Twist’s rolling tech session. John is the founding Chairman of NAMGBR and has been working on MGs for decades. He is the ultimate MG enthusiast and has been an outstanding supporter of our hobby. John’s rolling tech session provides participants an opportunity to have their car looked over and inspected by North America’s most recognized MG mechanic.
There is typically at least one ticketed group dinner at a NAMGBR convention. These are usually held off site at a local attraction. These dinners are usually not included in your registration fee so if you are interested in attending, we recommend signing up when you register.
Parking Lot Parties
Informal parking lot parties tend to happen in the evening hours at the host hotel. They provide a great opportunity to kick back and enjoy browsing and chatting about the cars. We encourage you to participate. The marque of friendship is usually on full display and some of our younger attendees have been known to keep the party going right through the night. MG enthusiasts come from all walks of life and all sorts of different backgrounds. Diversity is our strength and you will be amazed at some of the people you will meet. You will likely make lifelong friends at your first NAMGBR convention.
Car Wash Station
There is always a car washing station set up at the host hotel, so do take advantage of that before the big car show.
This is the main attraction of the NAMGBR convention. Hundreds of MGs will be on display looking their very best. We recommend giving your car a good wash and detail before the show.
On arrival cars are always parked based on their class. It will speed up entry if you know you class number and it’s useful to have the car class/car information “windshield card” immediately to hand, next to you in the car. There will be people to meet you and guide you to the appropriate part of the show field for you class. Helpers at the event are often wearing brightly colored T-shirts or other identifying clothing to make them easy to spot.
Cars are judged by fellow attendees and typically get more votes if the hood/bonnet is up. There will likely be a DJ playing British Invasion tunes and food trucks to make sure you don’t go hungry. Vendors are also typically present at the show field. Make sure you vote on the other cars by filling out your ballot booklet, which comes in the registration kit, and depositing the filled ballots in the appropriate ballot box.
The awards banquet is a semi-formal evening dinner. Business casual is the typical dress here. There will typically be opening remarks followed by the meal. Once the ticketed dinner is finished, the banquet opens to all non-ticketed participants and there is usually a guest speaker. Once the guest speaker has finished the awards are presented and closing remarks are made. The festivities usually continue in the parking lot.
Some conventions will organize a farewell breakfast in order to get you fueled up and ready to hit the road for the trip home. That will conclude your first NAMGBR convention. We hope that you had a great time and this will get you enthusiastic for coming back to future conventions.