2022 Chicago Auto Show offering free admission for military, first responders Tuesday

Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Chicago Auto Show 2022
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Chicago Auto Show 2022

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Auto Show continues at McCormick Place with First Responders/Military Appreciation Day Tuesday.

First responders, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, active-duty military and veterans can get in for free Tuesday and members of their group can get $5 off adult admission.


It's the first time the Chicago Auto Show has dedicated a day to honor First Responders and Military personnel with free admission.

"I think it's something that's very unique where the community has all come together behind the police, the firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and then our military that helped us through this year and a half of struggle," said Mark Bilek, senior director of communication and technology at the Chicago Auto Show.

"Our profession can be thankless at times, so it feels really good," Illinois State Police Trooper Omoayena Williams said. "We have individuals stopping by our booth, saying thank you for your service. We thank our military personnel for their service, but it feels great to be acknowledged."

The Ford Interceptor Utility SUV is the police version of the Ford Explorer, built right here in Chicago. Also at Ford, don't miss the Special Edition Bronco Everglades for extreme adventures.

Another must-see is the Corvette display, including the Z06, the ultimate driver's car with a 670 horse power V8 engine! For luxury, it's the Super Car Gallery, hands down!

"We've got 16, high end, high performance roll valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each," said Jim Obrill, marketing director for the Chicago Auto Show. "We've got vehicles like Lamborghinis, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Mazaratti Bentleys."

When you come to the Super Car Gallery you may have the opportunity to actually sit inside this Lamborghini, but the folks at the Auto Show gaveling me the special honor of being able to start it!

As far as exhibits go the Subaru National Parks is one of the most elaborate ones here, recreating National and Local Parks throughout the country, with moving images on the screen, flowing down to the floor!

"Everybody's got their hands in it, they're involved to get our message out to create an experience both visual and sensations and emotional to tell consumers what we do and what we believe in in the environment which reflects off of the vehicles we build," said Subaru exhibit manager Jon Mulkey,

Imagine what that looks like behind the scenes!

Sticking with the environmental message, Subaru is introducing its first entry into the EV market, the 2023 Solterra - one more sign that electric vehicles are not a trend, but clearly the road of the future.

Show goers were attracted to the setup with IBEW Local 134 demonstrating what it takes to get electrical charging installed at home or elsewhere to take advantage of the new technology.

It seems all the manufacturers have electric vehicles now, and they can be plugged into a regular outlet. But for faster charging, most consumers will go to "level 2" - 240 Volt/40 Amp service - which will get you 30 miles of charge per hour plugged in.

"There are incentives and, right now the state of Illinois, with the passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs ACT," said Robert Hattier, a business representative of IBEW Local 134. "The Illinois EPA will be releasing an incentive program for up to 80% of the cost of installing an EVSC."

Crowds are building after a few slow days to start the Auto Show. But with first responders the focus on this day, there is more than just the cars to appreciate.

"It makes me feel that we're appreciated," said Staff Sergeant Miguel Ramirez, an enhanced vehicle operator with the United States Marine Corps. "It makes me feel they care about our families. It is not just about the people who are serving, because their families are serving with them."

The Chicago Auto Show runs from February 12-21, with hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day except the final day, which runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors aged 62 and older, $10 for children 4-12 and children 3 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult.

ABC7 Chicago presents '2022 Chicago Auto Show'

Masks are required for all attendees age 2 and over, except when eating or drinking. Proof of COVID vaccination is not required for admission, but is required for designated food and beverage areas.