Local van enthusiasts can mark their calendar for April 29-30, when the Adventure Van Expo will be held again at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park.
The event is a gathering for van fans and will feature a variety of vendors, along with food, access for sale, and talks about different aspects of van culture. The riding park celebration will kick off Adventure Van Expo’s 2023 tour, which will include other stops throughout the U.S., including in Oregon and Tennessee.
Event founder Neil Morse came up with the idea years ago when he was looking for resources to build a van but couldn’t find any—much less a show centered around vans.
“There should be a way to come, figure out how to do this, what parts to buy,” Morse said.
The concept of van life—in which people voluntarily live out of vans, often traveling in such and sometimes documenting their journey on social media—has become more popular in recent years. Regular-sized vans are appealing because they fit in a mobile parking space, Morse said.
Morse has had vans his whole life. The San Juan event will have close to 100 different van-related companies, some being bigger established enterprises and others being smaller outlets that custom-build vans.
“This is the perfect space to check out vendors and accessories for van builds along with discovering new products on the market,” Morse said. “The expo will be full of unique displays and is a space where attendees can talk with experts on their craft.”
There will also be representatives of the do-it-yourself aspect of van life, Morse said.
“Van builders looking to display their work are encouraged to join the Adventure Van Expo DIY Contest taking place on Saturday, which will be viewed by hundreds of eventgoers and rated by van build experts,” a news release said.
Of course, as with any festival, there will also be music, beer, and food trucks available.
“There’s a real community,” Morse said. “There’s a lot of repeat people that come from multiple shows. There’s a camping element.”
People looking to camp out on April 28 and 29 can roll in starting on April 28 at 4 p.m., the news release said.
“It is the perfect space to hang out with other van owners and connect with the van life community throughout the two-day event,” the news release said.
While some attendees are well-versed in van culture, other people who attend Adventure Van Expo may be unfamiliar with the lifestyle and going to the event for the first time, Morse said.
Event hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 29 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 30.
Advance tickets can be purchased online at adventurevanexpo.com. The cost is $20 for both days for people 18 years of age and older, $120 for camping, $90 for the DIY contest, and $10 for a dog pass. People 17 years of age and younger can get in for free.