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The National Corvette Museum's 8th Annual Labor Day Corvette Celebration Pays Tribute to The C3

Rob Wallace III Dec 23, 2002

While most folks celebrated the last official weekend of summer with backyard barbecues, thousands of devout Corvette fans flocked to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for four fun-filled days at the National Corvette Museum. From Wednesday, August 28 to Sunday, September 1, the Corvette's hometown was overflowing with fantastic plastic of all sorts--spanning all 50 years of production. This year, the spotlight was turned on the Third Generation Vettes, and the Sharks certainly turned out in full force for the Labor Day gala! Corvette pilgrims had the opportunity to take guided tours of the Corvette Assembly plant on Wednesday and Thursday, and witness the birth of new '03 Vettes before the plant closed down for the holiday weekend. The NCM festivities included many celebrity guests, numerous technical and historical seminars, the Museum's new "Sharks Evolution" display, scenic road tours, a Celebrity Choice Car Show, autocross and drag racing, the 2002 Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and, of course, hundreds of Corvettes.

On Friday night, the C5's Chief Designer John Cafaro, legendary racer Jim Jeffords, and the late Myron "Scottie" Scott--the man who gave the Corvette its name--were recognized for their great contributions to the Corvette World as they were inducted into the NCM's Hall of Fame. After another full day of excitement at the Museum, Executive Director Wendell Strode and his wife, Jan, hosted a special backyard dinner for VIPs and Lifetime Members at their home on Saturday. The weekend's extravaganza wrapped up Sunday afternoon with the raffle drawing for a brand-new 50th Anniversary Corvette. For everyone in attendance, the "SharkFest" was packed with good food, great people, and tons of fun!


For four straight days, thegrounds all around the CorvetteMuseum was a sea of plastic. Thisyear's Corvette Celebration theme was"SharkFest," paying tribute to the Third-GenVettes. There were plenty of Sharks in these waters!

This Commemorative Edition C5 '53 roadster was never alone. It almost always had a full entourage of onlookers. Its license plate appropriately reads "53MYWAY."

Gary Panell's LT1 (375hp 350) '70 convertible with the auxiliary hardtop was in fine show form.

This Ruby Red '93 ZR-1, owned by Tom and Gert Kilmore, is one of only 245 Vettes put together with RPO ZR1 and the Z25 40th Anniversary package.

Customs were also abundant.

Larry and Sandy Cleveland drove their LS1-powered "Solid-Axle" to the weekend's festivities. We featured the '56 in the March 2001 issue.

Many Vettes turned out to the local drag strip on Sunday morning to "run what they brung." A few even took part in some good old-fashioned tire-frying.

The Robertsons had a lot to celebrate at the Corvette Celebration. Not only did they renew their wedding vows after 25 years of marriage, but they also took Museum delivery of their new 50th Anniversary Corvette!

Retired Corvette Chief Engineer Dave McLellan and his lovely wife, Glenda, were among the many notable personalities on hand all weekend signing autographs. Dave was also signing copies of his new book, Corvette From the Inside.

No one (save for a few Ford guys) was afraid of these Shark-infested waters.

Mike Yager, current Chairman of the NCM, presented the Celebrity Choice Car Show plaques. Winners, such as Chris and Nikki McDonald's 454-powered '69 roadster, were on display in the Museum's circle drive all morning, before driving up to receive their awards.

Lots of people hung around Sunday afternoon for the awards presentations, and the drawing for a giveaway C5.

From left to right, Larry Martin (NCM Chair-Elect), Dollie Cole, Mike Yager, and the NCM's Larry Hayes add the final entries to the grand prize raffle, and prepare to draw the winner. At a $10 donation per entry, the Museum raised over $350,000 to support its continued operation!

William Saathoff of Eldridge, Iowa, bought the winning raffle ticket. They had already left for the long drive home, so Mike made a public phone call to give William the good news. It took the cheers of everyone in attendance to convince him it was for real!


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