33rd Annual Burbank Road Kings Charity Car Show Brings in Huge Crowd

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Gary and Karen Arellano, 2024 Road Kings Car Show

The 33rd annual Burbank Road Kings Charity Car Show took place at Johnny Carson Park on Sunday, June 9, bringing a huge crowd out to enjoy the day of classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles.  

The park was lined with rows of vehicles, spilling over onto the upper lot, their freshly polished bodies brightly displayed under the June clouds. The morning of the event is an early one, as cars begin to pull in to their places.  Coffee and breakfast burritos are on sale while car owners pop open their chairs and umbrellas, ready to camp out for the day next to their vehicles.

By 8:00AM the event has begun, and the first attendees weave and bob through the sea of glistening colors. The silent auction, 50/50 raffle, and drawings begin as the show opens.  The money raised at their annual car show is allocated to multiple charitable organizations in the Burbank community, which will all be decided and presented in October of this year. 

Photo by Ashley Erikson.

Karen Arellano is the club’s first female President, and is currently on her second year with the title. “There is a lot of work that goes into putting on this car show,” says Arellano. Who worked with her husband, Gary Arellano, the Car Show Chairman. The duo began planning and organizing the event back in November of last year. “Many hours go into getting all this completed,” she added.

The hours invested are apparent by the success of the show.  A couple hundred cars and a few thousand attendees, prove that the work the Arellanos put in is worth it.  Karen and Gary are also the first married couple to be members of the club.  Karen’s red and white 1956 Chevy Nomad, named “Little Red Wagon,” was on display by the stage, as the proud couple took pictures in front of it in between managing the schedule of events.

Gary’s commitment to the club goes beyond being the Car Show Chairman, and even hand painted and assembled custom Road King plaques that were awarded at the end of the show. The Best of Show trophy was sponsored by Bob Greene of Community Chevrolet and was award to Tim Sweet, the owner of a beautiful blue 1956 Ford Pick Up F100.

Jay Leno showing spectators his 1917 Fiat Botafogo Special. Photo by Ashley Erikson.

The annual car show is more than just its display of vehicles.  The dirt path around the park, nicknamed “Vendor Row,” was filled with community booths, small businesses, and activities.  Galpin Ford had a white truck on display where kids could come up and paint along the sides of it, and the Hot Wheels Race Track held tournaments with attendees using die-cast Hot Wheels cars to compete against each other.

While Burbank is known for its share of celebrities, a car show in Burbank isn’t complete without the presence of former host of “The Tonight Show,” Jay Leno. Leno’s car garage, which is located near the Burbank airport, consists of over 181 cars and 160 motorcycles. Leno pulled onto the grass in his 1917 Fiat Botafogo Special, drawing in a crowd to see his 21.7-liter aero-engined vehicle.

“It is wonderful to have Jay Leno show up at our car show that the Road Kings put on, and be able to get a picture with him,” said Karen.  After chatting with onlookers about his vehicle, he then wandered around the show, admiring all of the cars and taking pictures with guests.

It was a busy weekend in Burbank with the St. Francis Xavier Old Tyme Fair and the Downtown Burbank Jackalope Art Fair, but the Burbank Road Kings still brought in a huge crowd and put on a successful event for the community. “The 2024 Johnny Carson Road King Car Show was a great success. We had lots of cars and a whole bunch of spectators for this annual event,” added Karen. “All attending seemed to have a good time!”