Imagine what it takes to put on a huge show, then try to get your head around organizing two huge shows, only a few days apart, on opposite sides of the planet. That’s what the crew at Mooneyes do every year, with their Japanese show and the Mooneyes Christmas Party in California. The Irwindale event ain’t no little affair, encompassing drag racing on the eighth-mile track, which runs alongside the Toyota Speedway, bands, an art auction, and a pin-up girl contest, along with the hundreds of cars that show up and a not inconsiderable number of vendors. We’ve attended weekend events that are smaller than this one-day show!

What started as a small affair in the parking lot and yard at Mooneyes’ Santa Fe Springs facility, quickly outgrew the available space, moving to the Sheriff’s Academy in Whittier for a few years, before ever-increasing numbers saw it move to the huge Irwindale Speedway five years ago. The last big show before the holidays, the Christmas party has seen blistering sunshine and torrential rain in the past, with the former thankfully prevailing in 2011. The weather certainly brought the cars out, with the lot filled to capacity with everything from lowriders, bikes, and vans to traditional rods and customs.

Mooneyes brings most of their vehicles to display at the show, while a section of the venue is given over to a pit area for the race cars, which run the gamut from front engine diggers and A/FX cars to gassers and muscle cars. The racing definitely adds an extra element to the event, giving what would otherwise be a static show that extra something. Even if you don’t watch the racing, the sounds and smells add to the atmosphere. If you find yourself in SoCal next December, check it out. Just wait until after the early rush to get in!