Yuma’s Midnight at the Oasis festival is a surprisingly fantastic event for car enthusiasts of all genres. Hosted by the Caballeros de Yuma (Gentlemen of Yuma) group, whose members host most of the special events around the city. We met General Chairman Jeff Kammann at the event, to understand why this car festival has become one of the most popular, and exclusive, car shows in the West.
According to Kammann, the festival was set up with the township and the residents in mind, and is one of those rare events where the townspeople get behind the festival similar to the Fourth of July parades in mainstream America. While most festivals last a single day or a weekend, the Midnight at the Oasis car festival begins on a Thursday evening with a cruise, then goes through the weekend until late Sunday afternoon.
Thursday’s Fun Run And Main Street Rally
Thursday night’s fun run goes through the city’s north end and continues to a rally on Main Street in downtown Yuma. Like all good parades, the citizens of the city bring out their lawn chairs and beverages to watch the parade of cars go by. The town really rolls out the red carpet and welcomes the festival participants like no other car show that we’ve ever seen.
About the Caballeros de Yuma
The group was founded in 1962 as a club of of 20 businessmen for the purpose of greeting groups and VIPs who visited Yuma, Arizona. Rapidly, the group found a second purpose in sponsoring special events, which publicized and attracted visitors to the City and County of Yuma.
From those humble beginnings, the Caballeros have grown in numbers and their events have grown in stature, making them among the most popular activities in the Southwest.
Late on Friday afternoon, there is another cruise that ends back at the Ray Kroc Complex that coincides with the evening’s concert portion of the festival. Show participants and sponsors are invited to a reception in the Civic Center where they are treated to another feast of the local cuisine.
“We feed all of our participants and sponsors, for all four days,” said Kammann. “This is why we keep the number of entrants capped at 900. We service as many participants as we are confident that we can without stretching our resources.”
True to what we had heard about the show, the local businesses and community really go out of their way to make the festival attendees welcome and well cared for. No one lacks for anything. The concerts continue throughout the evening until about 10:00 p.m., when the crowds start heading for the gates, which close at 11:00 p.m.
Saturday is a full show and shine for the spectators while the entrants and sponsors are treated to VIP luncheon at the Civic Center. Concerts rule the evening with some of the best cover bands from the southwest booked for appearances. The gates close at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The final day of the festival is filled with a full daytime show and shine until the afternoon when many of the participants begin packing up for their commutes back home. We saw cars from every one of the Southwest states, and a few from the Northwest. Most of the participants are return entrants from the previous year.
With a cap of 900 entrants each year, Kammann told us that they have to turn away many others that want to attend. This type of commitment to the festival’s participants is a large part of why the event has become so popular. When so many other event organizers would continue to outgrow their support system, the Caballeros de Yuma have kept the internal discipline to maintain this well organized event and keep it running at the most efficient level. The entrants, sponsors and local community are rewarded by their efforts.
We say job well done by all. We have already assigned coverage for this event next year, and looking forward to attending!
Be sure to enjoy our photo gallery from the event: