When International Carwash Association (ICA) held the most recent The Car Wash Show™ in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November 2021, the carwash industry excitedly reunited with clients, colleagues and friends following unprecedented COVID-19 shutdowns. While the 2021 show was indubitably a success, manufacturers, operators and association representatives are excited to head back to Nashville, Tennessee, for the 2022 The Car Wash Show, which is taking place May 9-11, 2022.
This year, over 400 exhibitors promoting innovative products and leading technology will be on Music City Center’s 160,000-square-foot show floor. When not networking with potential partners, attendees have the opportunity to attend a multitude of educational events or listen to expert speakers. The event’s 60-plus hours of educational opportunities include discussions about retaining talent, converting self-serve operations, financing trends, marketing strategies and much more.
Three years after the last time the carwash community gathered in Music City, ICA is excited to welcome everyone back. As Carrie North, vice president of partnerships for ICA, explained in a recent episode of “Wash Talk: The Carwash Podcast,” “We’re looking forward to being back in Nashville. It feels like we take over the town a little bit when we’re there and I know our exhibitors and attendees are excited about being there at the convention center — it’s right in the middle of downtown.”
Due to the fact that it has been a few years since the last time we all gathered in Nashville, we wanted to remind the carwash community where to go, what to eat and how to get around Music City.
Guide to your Nashville stay
For a huge event, such as The Car Wash Show, which draws thousands of visitors from all over the U.S. and beyond, the centrally located mid-Tennessee region is a fantastic location for easy travel. In fact, according to www.visitmusiccity.com, 40% of the U.S. population lives within 600 miles of Nashville.
While many attendees will be fortunate enough to drive to Nashville from their home regions, attendees who fly to Nashville International Airport (BNA) have flexible options as well. BNA’s many airlines fly directly to and from 75 major domestic and international markets, including but not limited to Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Orlando.1
Once you touch down in Music City, the airport has an impressive rental car selection for those who prefer to drive while in town. However, if you plan to stay at Tru by Hilton, the hotel connected to the convention center, a car really isn’t necessary considering it will be a short walk over to the show floor.
For a cost-effective transportation option, Nashville is home to an intensive bus system known as WeGo. WeGo busses travel between the airport and downtown every hour. With fares as low as $2 per ride and a short four-minute walk from the 5th Ave. S. bus stop to the convention center, busing from the airport is a great option.2
Of course, ride-sharing services are available in the city as well. As of April 2022, an UberX ride costs roughly $35 to the convention center from the airport.
Once settled in, if you want to take advantage of public transportation when sightseeing, the WeGo Star is a commuter train system that travels from the city riverfront to the Donelson neighborhood, where you can visit President Andrew Jackson’s historical home, and then continues east out to the suburbs.
Eat and drink
Of course, when visiting a major U.S. city, many people look forward to checking out local fare and traditional dishes. While Nashville is a southern city known for fantastic barbeque restaurants and fried chicken joints, it is also on the rise as a globally recognized culinary destination. So, for foodies of all types, you will find three very different types of Music City stops for meals and night caps.
Classic Nashville eats
For spicy food lovers, Nashvillians would advise that all visitors must try the iconic “Nashville Hot Chicken,” a local fried chicken specialty that’s coated in cayenne pepper and served with pickles. Nashville hot chicken restaurants have gained popularity across the nation but the dish was originally served almost a century ago at Prince’s Hot Chicken — a restaurant that is still in operation today. Guests can grab Prince’s iconic fried chicken at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack South at 5814 Nolensville Pike or at Prince’s Hot Chicken Assembly Food Hall at 5055 Broadway Place.
In the food world, the James Beard Foundation awards is equivalent to ICA’s Hall of Fame award in carwashing — it awards the very best chefs for creating outstanding food. In 2022, an up-and-coming Nashville restaurant’s chef was recently named as a finalist for this prestigious award. Rolf and Daughters is located at 700 Taylor St. and serves a variety of uniquely prepared meats, pastas, ice cream and cocktails. The winner of the 2022 James Beard award will be named in June — right after The Car Wash Show. Get your reservations in now.
Whether celebrating with co-workers, partners or clients, everyone in the professional carwash market has a lot to celebrate after the past few years of unparalleled growth. There are very few better places to celebrate in the U.S. than Nashville’s “Honky Tonk Highway.” The Honky Tonk Highway, located on Lower Broadway, is a row of honky-tonks with live music playing from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.3
Many well-known country stars, such as Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley and others, began their careers on Honky Tonk Highway. There are numerous places to grab drinks on this iconic Music City row. From the country music star Blake Sheldon-founded Ole Red to the world-famous Wildhorse Saloon, any of the drinkeries on Honky Tonk Highway are sure to offer a great time.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone in Nashville at the Music City Center for The Car Wash Show 2022.
Be sure to visit the Professional Carwashing & Detailing team at booth #3059 to say hello and grab a copy of a recent issue. For the latest updates about the show exhibitors, Schedule of Events or tips on booking accommodations, visit www.thecarwashshow.com.
Camille Renner is the associate editor of Professional Carwashing & Detailing.