There are some exciting drive-by and or drive-thru event ideas and we’ve compiled a list of 30 of the best for you.
As COVID numbers rise, it’s likely we will start restricting our events and gatherings again. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to return to Zoom meetings only.
What Is a Drive-Thru / Drive-by Chamber Event?
As the name suggests, this type of event is enjoyed from the comfort of the car or socially-distanced space.
But there are a few things you need to think about if you’re considering hosting a drive-thru or drive-by type of event.
The Secret to Successful Driving/Strolling Events
One of the most important things you’ll learn about these types of events is traffic flow. When planning for them, you need to have a clear path for cars and possibly shut off streets or limit them to certain directions. Some communities use parking lots with chalk arrows or parking cones to ensure everyone is going the correct way.
You don’t have to have drive-thru ideas for events only. Some chambers have created very successful parking events. As you would assume, in parking events it’s important to worry about flow and congestion as well. A badly managed parking situation can turn a wonderful event into a bad memory if people can not easily access and leave the event.
In addition to marketing the event, make sure everyone is aware of the safety precautions you are taking. Be specific about mask-wearing if it is required. Some people may think that because they will be in their cars, they don’t need masks. Don’t give people reason to make assumptions. Be very specific about whether masks are required or not.
If you’re wondering which way to go, err on the side of caution, especially because it seems like rules are changing quickly these days. What may be okay when you’re planning, may not be allowed when the event rolls around. Create a Plan B.
30 Drive-by/Drive-Thru Event Ideas for Chambers of Commerce
Consider these ideas to get your community together with fewer risks. Most of them work as drive-thrus, parking events, and stroll-by in large open areas:
- Santa visit or Santa’s village
- Christmas/Holiday market
- Taste of <Your Town>
- Main Street light displays. You could do a beautiful “Main Street Cruise In” with extended shop hours downtown.
- Farmer’s or creator’s/artisan’s market
- Neighborhood light display
- Boat parade (during the holidays, add lights. Morro Bay has an annual event.)
- Santa candy toss. In this example, Santa comes to kids, not the other way around. He often rides on a float or a firetruck and goes through the neighborhoods during pre-arranged times. This event is a lot of fun but take good care in regards to how the candy is tossed or given to children. You do not want anyone running into the street to scoop up some candy and getting gravely injured.
- Pet parade, convertible style. Invite people to parade around the town square (or other area) in decorated cars with their dressed-up pets. Convertibles and truck beds are the easiest way to see these precious pets. Give awards for different types of decorations and costumes.
- Antique car parade
- Monster truck rally
- Wagon parade. Remember the days of pulling kids in a wagon? You can create a socially-distanced parade where participants decorate wagons like mini-floats. Give awards for most creative, funniest/zaniest, tallest, etc.
- Interactive stations. Check out this exciting event in Los Angeles using a parking garage and 18 different interactive stations that can be enjoyed from the safety of attendees’ cars.
- Laser light show. Allow attendees to view a laser light show from the safety of their car.
- Holiday movie drive-in. Crank up the projector and show a special movie drive-in style.
- Drive-through petting zoo
- Taco tasting drive-in
- Christmas choirs or performers drive-thru. Pull up to a spot, hear a song. Attendees can make requests and participants can place tip jars out for those who enjoyed the entertainment. This provides some potential help for those in the arts.
- Outdoor art stroll. Invite local artists to sell their art in a large outdoor area. Make sure “strollers” remain socially distant while they admire the art.
- Outdoor fashion show. Instead of the models walking the runway, attendees walk between scenes with models. All items can be ordered online.
- Karaoke car line. Whether you allow carloads of people to sing in front of a platform of judges or you turn it around and have the judge drive by the acts, this event can be a lot of fun and is easy to organize.
- Drive-by city birthday party. If your city is celebrating a birthday, why not celebrate it like so many other people did at the beginning of COVID with a drive-by birthday? You can give each attendee a swag bag filled with member goodies.
- Drive-in film festival. You can do this with full-length films or shorts/videos.
- Food giveaways. Many people need financial help. The chamber is well-suited to coordinate the efforts of several non-profits and tie their services together in several large, coordinated events.
- Find your favorite book drive-by. Sometimes libraries have lots of books they are looking to divest. You can help coordinate a drive-by book giveaway. This event could be a mobile grab-bag idea or librarians matching readers with new reads based on authors they like.
- Themed costume parade in the back of trucks or hanging out a window or even walking (socially distant) through a neighborhood or downtown.
- Paint on the square. Work with one of your “paint your own picture” members to create painting workstations throughout the downtown area. Help people explore their creativity. You can do the same thing with chalk art around town.
- Exercise course. Work with several gyms and trainers in the area. Have them set up a station to lead mini-exercises throughout a park. Let a few people work out at each station and then move onto the next one. This can help personal trainers and gyms get more clients by allowing potential clients to try a mini-exercise or class before committing. (Your city may already have an exercise trail like the City of Clovis, CA)
- Speed networking in cars. Create a speed networking event in cars to keep people socially distant.
- Craft-xtravaganza. Set up tables throughout a park/parking lot and let people stroll around learning how to do quick, inexpensive crafts. You can allow people to sell them as well.
These drive-by and drive-thru event ideas may not be exactly in-line with your strategic plan but they can do a lot to restore the morale of your town and bring business to downtown restaurants and shops.
Even if stores are closed, you can find ways to allow for contactless (or nearly so) commerce.
COVID times call for events that are a little different. But the one thing that remains the same is the joy you can bring to your community.