Beyond the Vroom-Vroom: Toyota Grand Prix To-Dos

Not watching the zoom-zoom? Tunes and eats await.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Friday, Apr 11, 2014  |  Updated 9:18 AM PDT
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Celebrity Racers at the Grand Prix of Long Beach

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The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach vrooms from Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13. Lots of road action, but happenings away from the races are plentiful. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

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How do you know when you're dealing with a major, major, major event?

First, over 175,000 people just show up. Second, celebrities from all disciplines participate. And third? There are enough happenings outside the main focus to fill up a bustling, variety-brimmed three-day weekend.

Why yes, good guess: We are in fact speaking of the 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which vroom-vrooms and zoom-zooms through the streets of the ocean-close burg from Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13.

Wait -- are three "majors," with one in italics, big enough for the Toyota Grand Prix? Does it need a fourth? Because it is huge. 175,000 people huge. Fast car huge. Huge.

A host of races, with the luminaries of racing and film, are the street-fast centerpieces, but for tag-along friends not into extreme speed, there's oodles to do off the squeal-wheeled course.

Like? The mega, mega, mega Lifestyle Expo, where "more than 270 displays" draw thousands of lookie-loos into the Convention Center Arena. Alternative energy vehicles, an exhibit detailing Four Decades of Racing in the Streets -- yep, it's a look back at huge Grand Prix times and people -- and electric cars for kid-racing'll all be in the house.

Outside of the expo? Tecate throws a free concert on Friday night, April 11, featuring rock-electronica cool group Kinky. The stage? It's Convention Center-adjacent.

And food and beverage shall rule the racing roost. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is hosting the Turn One Club, while other eat-and-watch clubs are springing up at other points along the route.

Truth? Given the major, major, mega, mega nature of the motorized proceedings, you can get down with the race action and give the Lifestyle Expo some love. For all of the race/non-race happenings, eye the always helpful, always pdf, always chock-packed-with-info Grand Prix Fan Guide.

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