NORTH PALM BEACH – Vanessa Mohan watched closely as her daughter Lilli maneuvered around the parking lot at Palm Beach Outlets Mall behind the wheel of a gleaming white Porsche.
The 3-year-old drove like a pro as she whizzed through a cordoned-off driving course as the Cars and Coffee Palm Beach car show kicked into full swing. The miniature car she was driving didn’t growl like . the life-size Porsches but the 12-volt battery that powered her ride still had a lot of pep.The posse of miniature cars spread across a cordoned-off driving course was causing a stir.
Welcome to Mini-Me Cars & Coffee, where little kids get to drive cool cars and mimic the “big kids” who show off their pricey toys each month at the popular car show at Palm Beach Outlets Mall. Florida Fine Cars stopped by the driving course to find out more.
“This is her second time,” her mother said smiling. “I like it. It’s something for her to do.”
Mohan’s husband Richie is a car enthusiast who signed Lilli up for the Mini Me program as soon as he saw the kiddie driving course and the lineup of miniature electric cars. Lilli had her own mini, so they brought it to the car show so she could participate.
Organizer Sidney Vallon, owner of Palm Beach Classics, came up with the idea because so many little kids attend the huge car show with their parents. Children ages one to five can participate in the program using their own mini or by renting one he provides.
“We wanted to make it something fun for them and now they can be behind the wheel,” said Vallon, a father of two. “Every month is bigger and better.”
Mohan and her husband spent about $300 on their daughter’s Moderno Kids miniature electric car, which she uses all the time.
Christina Martinez, a board member for MiniMe Cars & Coffee, said most parents bring their children’s own minis so they can drive the mock driving course but some buy miniature vehicles on the spot.
For a $70 annual membership, participants receive an official t-shirt, a MiniMe drivers license, and unlimited use of the driving course.
“We have a police escort and they do a parade around the parking lot,” Martinez said. “We also play games with them in the parking lot afterwards.”
The MiniMe parade starts at 9 a.m. at each Cars & Coffee event and draws a crowd.
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