The plan for this column was to get a head start on the car show/ cruise night season; however, we found out the season already is under way, so we’re pleased to join the year in progress.

Yesterday, Herb Chambers had his first Cars & Coffee date at BMW of Sudbury. The next scheduled one is May 11 at Chambers’ Burlington Porsche-Audi dealership.

Here are a dozen dates and destinations for upcoming auto-related events, a list that includes only a smattering of both annual and weekly events in the burgeoning collector-car hobby.

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Today, April 14

1. There’s the Greater BostonToy Show&Sale at the Holiday Inn in Dedham from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. today with a variety of promo and diecast vendors.Miami-based Steve Butler, a specialist in World War II-era, English-made Dinky cars, will be among the dealers. How big is this hobby? A toy auction in Fairfield, Maine, last fall saw $1.2 million in collectibles go under the gavel.

2. The Ty-Rods hold their 27th annual spring swap meet at Stafford Springs Speedway in Connecticut today. It’s a major parts event with several car corrals (cars for sale). It’s also the site where I once saw an El Camino for sale, walked away to call Mrs. G for permission to buy it, and returned only to find the owner finalizing a sale to another purchaser.

3. If you’d rather head north for some live action,Lee Speedway in Lee, NH, opens its season today with the Governor’s Cup 150 at 2 p.m.

4. The world of automotive design is the featured Driving Our Dreams display as the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich opens its 44th season. The display, which opened yesterday, runs through Oct. 27. It includes 16 cars ranging from a 1927 LaSalle to a pair of 2009 vehicles, theTerrafugia Roadable Aircraft and Infinium Solar Car. Among the rare cars are a 1953 Buick Wildcat II, 1956 Firebird, and 1963 Harley Earl Corvette. Museum-goers will have opportunities to design their own vehicles and hear occasional guest speakers.Wayne Carini, host of TV’s “Chasing Classic Cars,”will be part of a panel discussion on the history of concept and dream cars today from 2-3 p.m. with author andTV commentator Bill Stephens and restoration expert Kevin Mackay.

This Week

1. This is school vacation week for many local school districts and one solid family destination could be the first of the Bass Pro Shops mega cruise nights on April 18 at Foxboro’s Patriot Place, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Cruisers. The action starts at 3:30 p.m.The Patriot Place cruise nights continue every otherThursday into October.

2. This Saturday, April 20, offers a Cars ’n Coffee gathering at Larz Anderson Museum in Brookline at 8 a.m.The first official lawn event is the traditional Cadillac Day seasonopener on Sunday,May 19.

3. Next Sunday, April 21, is the 43rd annual Early FordV8 Club Tune-Up Show & Swap Meet at Fitchburg Airport from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. It’s a rain, sleet, snow, or shine event that has been held in all of those conditions. Four hundred vendors are signed up, and you can expect up to 1,000 cars, depending on the weather.

Down the Road

1. April 25—Start of the every-Thursday cruise night at Kitty’s Restaurant in North Reading. Expect the parking lot to be filled early but persevere and enjoyapizza from a local institution.

2. May 26—The Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend is a great time for a road trip. So reverse the“Stockbridge-to-Boston”route of musical fame and find your way to Chesterwood, the summer home of sculptor Daniel Chester French (the Minute Man in Concord, Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial). You can tour his studio, see some wonderful Western Massachusetts scenery, and an eclectic group of cars. Use your GPS to get there and travel some back roads on the way home.

3. July 28—The former North Shore Concours d’Elegance has morphed into the Misselwood Concours d’Elegance at Misselwood Estate in Beverly. Highlights of the 4th annual event include a 40-mile Tour d’Elegance starting in Newburyport on Saturday, July 27 and finishing at Misselwood.The Concours at the Estate opens to the public at 10 a.m. on Sunday and features Cadillac and LaSalle this year. Early registration for the judged event is encouraged as the event has a limit of 125 cars. Details at Endicott.edu/concours.

4. August 15—Cruising the ’50s in downtown Newburyport. Coordinator Wes Pettengill says the invitation-only event cost him some friends last year because he only invited cars “that could win Best in Show awards at most cruise nights.” The Newburyport Chamber of Commerce, police, and city officials got behind last year’s inaugural event, which far exceeded anyone’s expectations. This year? “Better… and bigger,”promises Pettengill.

5. TBA—Skip’s Cruise Nights. Skip’s Hamburgers in Merrimac uses the fields behind the restaurant for a series of Saturday night events. Opening Day for the seasonal stand is this week, with an announcement of the summer series to follow soon, usually the third Saturday in May. It’s an official sign of summer in the area.