IF YOU GO
* What: World of Wheels Custom Auto Show.
* When: 5-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12.
* Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1110 Carter St.
* Admission: $16 adults ($13 at sponsor O'Reilly Auto Parts stores), $5 children 6-11.
* Phone: 205-655-4950.
* Website: worldofwheels.net/chattanooga-tn.
If you like your custom cars new, old or barely recognizable from the original, the 45th annual World of Wheels Custom Auto Show has something for you.
But fans can see custom cars and motorcycles at various shows throughout the year. What they can't see are the celebrities who come along with the custom cars, the assembled vendors, a master pinstriper at work, bike acrobats and participants in a zombie walk at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
The annual event, referred to by promoters as a Super Bowl of car shows, will feature some 300 custom cars, trucks and motorcycles, as well as restored and antique vehicles.
It annually draws 35,000 to 40,000 visitors, according to media coordinator Amy Coffey of Signature Media.
"It's one of the largest and longest-running [shows] in the city," she says.
The celebrities include Sonequa Martin-Green from AMC's "The Walking Dead," Justin Martin from "Duck Dynasty," Richard Rawlings of Gas Monkey Garage and Discovery Channel's "Fast N' Loud," Spike TV's Powerblock host Courtney Hansen (the reigning Miss Hot Rod 2013) and Miss World of Wheels 2014 Erin Belle.
"We like to have something for everybody," says Coffey.
Martin-Green, who portrays the character Sasha on "The Walking Dead," will sign autographs from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, following the 4 p.m. zombie walk; Martin will sign Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.; Rawlings will sign Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. and 2 to 3 p.m.; Hansen will sign Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Belle will sign autographs and pose for photographs throughout the weekend.
The zombie walk, limited to 100 participants, will be "pretty laid-back" and will be staged through the main corridor of the convention center, Coffey says. Winners in various categories, who will be judged by radio personalities from WSKZ-FM KZ106, will be able to take part in a private meet-and-greet with Martin-Green before she signs autographs.
The pinstriper, Von Hot Rod, known as West Coast Pin Striper and "Master of the Fine Line," will pinstripe all weekend.
Darth Vader and other members of the 501st Legion Star Wars costuming organization, including those of the local MidSouth Garrison's MosNooga Squad, will meet fans and pose for photos all weekend
And what would a World of Wheels be without SpongeBob SquarePants, the Nickelodeon cartoon character who also will greet fans and offer photographs all weekend.
High Rollers BMX, an extreme bike team, will perform midair acrobatics and stunts throughout the three days.
The 150 vendors will offer a variety of food items, jewelry, personalized items and "you name it," says Coffey.
The first 200 children through the door each day will receive a free Hot Wheels car and can race their car at no charge on the Hot Wheels Drag Track sponsored by the Alabama Hot Wheels Club.
Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.