Edmonton Motorshow: Schmooze and learn at Precious Metal Gala

Attending an auto show often means fighting your way through crowds to see your favourite new cars and trucks.

But the Precious Metal Gala, held before the 2014 Edmonton Motorshow opens to the public, offers an alternative. The Gala opens Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., while the main show runs Thursday through Sunday at Edmonton Expo Centre.

The Gala can be an opportunity to not only see the vehicles but to learn more about them since some manufacturer’s representatives are there and are available to answer questions.

The event offers a great chance to see the vehicles up close and to slide into the driver’s seat of some cars that will not be open during the show.

The theme for this year’s Gala is Minimalist to Opulent, and the range of vehicles on display, from tiny econoboxes to luxury cars and SUVs, certainly backs up that idea.

Not only does the Gala offer an unhurried chance to see the star vehicles up close, it also helps ensure that there’s a good supply of automotive technicians.

The proceeds of the Gala are used to provide financial assistance to automotive apprentices and high school auto programs, said Eleasha Naso, assistant Motorshow manager. When apprentices are in school, they’re not earning money so the awards help them until they start collecting unemployment insurance.

Naso said secondary-school automotive shops are expensive to maintain.

“If they don’t have up-to-date equipment, they won’t be able to attract students,” she said.

Admission is $150.50 per person or $125.50 for groups of 10 or more.

Local musicians and street performers will provide entertainment and there will be both food and drinks. Since alcohol is served, the event is restricted to those 18 and over. Dress is business attire — no jeans are permitted.

Food will range from sliders to lobster, while alcoholic beverages will cover the range from beer to champagne.

Naso said another benefit of the Gala is that the event gives business people the opportunity to network.

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