No one can pinpoint when the practice of communing with fellow Corvette enthusiasts on a show field began, but the nation's biggest Corvette spectaculars—Bloomington Gold, Corvettes at Carlisle, and Mid America Motorworks Corvette Funfest—can trace their origins to 1973, 1982, and 1994, respectively. If you haven't been to one or all of these extravagant, assault-on-the-senses celebrations, you should saddle up and go, as they're filled with acres and acres of all six generations of America's Favorite Sports Car, celebrity appearances and seminars, manufacturer's midways loaded with the latest aftermarket offerings, and—in the cases of Bloomington and Carlisle—swap meets populated with a plethora of Corvette parts and memorabilia.
In addition to these giant-sized get-togethers, numerous Corvette clubs across the country host annual or semi-annual events. While the big shows excel in the sheer volume of Corvettes they display, these regional soirees offer the advantage of a more intimate atmosphere and, in many cases, a scenic locale.
These lesser-known Corvette shows need some national attention, and VETTE is here to give it to them. We've picked a sample of shows we think you'll find interesting, and which you still have a chance to register for and attend in 2011. We'll start the two-part series with four must-see Corvette shows, one each in New Jersey and Louisiana, two in Michigan, and an honorable mention in Kentucky that you'll have to wait for until next year. Next month, we'll conclude this two-parter with some of the best regional Corvette shows west of Old Man River.
A Day at the Beach Corvette Style: Ocean City, New Jersey
Date: September 25, 2011 (no rain date)
Location: Ocean City Municipal Airport and Boardwalk; Ocean City, New Jersey
Entry Fee: $20/$25 day of show (The event is limited to the first 450 Corvettes registered; pre-registration is highly recommended); Spectator admission is free
Check it out!: www.boardwalkcorvettes.com
A Day at the Beach Corvette Style—sponsored by the Boardwalk Corvettes—has offered Corvette owners a world-famous show location in Ocean City, New Jersey, for more than 20 years. It includes a staging site at the Ocean City Municipal Airport, which is followed by the seaside show on the Boardwalk.
"The cars are not judged like most shows," event coordinator Edie English says. "This is a fun event, and club members are assigned fun categories to look for winners, either on the Boardwalk or where we meet at the Ocean City Airport. The categories change from year to year. In the past few years, we've had theme awards based on movies or songs."
On average, 350-400 Corvettes attend the annual event, mostly from Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York. Boardwalk Corvettes is a non-profit organization with donations going to local charities such as the Humane Society of Ocean City, the Greater Atlantic Bluefish Tournament, and various food banks.
Corvettes on Woodward: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Date: August 17-19, 2011
Location: Radisson Hotel; Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Entry Fee: $0 (Donations of food and money are requested); Spectator admission is free
Check it out!: www.corvettesonwoodward.org
Corvettes on Woodward is the largest all-Corvette show and cruise within a 400-mile radius of Detroit, and attracts 400-plus Corvettes from across the United States.
The three-day event coexists with Detroit's annual Woodward Dream Cruise, and includes tours of the GM Heritage Center and Performance Build Center, as well as visits to Detroit-area Corvette specialists Katech Performance, Advanced Automotive Technologies, Spectre Werkes, Race Car Replicas, MasterWorks Automotive Services, and Alternative Automotive Technologies. It also includes an afternoon of Corvette-only bracket-style drag racing at Milan Dragway.
According to the show's founder, Larry Courtney, "A total of 20-25 Corvette clubs from across the United States will come to our event this year, including Dallas' Lone Star club and Denver's Looking Glass club, among others. We also expect caravans to form at various locations in the U.S. and grow in size as they converge upon the event. For example, one will begin in North Dakota and pick up cars from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, with a stop at Corvette Central in Sawyer, Michigan, along the way. Another caravan will start from Florida and join up with drivers from Georgia and Ohio."
This year's event includes an appearance by Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles, who promises to bring a surprise car, and a seminar on fuel-injection systems led by author Greg Banish. In addition, aftermarket tuner-car builders Lingenfelter Performance Engineering and Callaway will bring out their latest and greatest Corvette creations.
Proceeds from the show will benefit the Open Hands Food Pantry in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Corvettes America: White Lake Township, Michigan
Date: August 13, 2011 (Corvette Track Day, August 12, 2011)
Location: Alpine Valley Ski Area; White Lake Township, Michigan
Entry Fee: $20/$25 day of event (People's Choice), $30 (Judged Show & Shine); Spectator admission is $10 per vehicle
Check it out!: www.corvettesamerica.org
Now in its 11th year, Corvettes America bills itself as the Midwest's Largest All-Corvette Show, but it may be the event's picturesque surroundings that truly set it apart. The get-together is hosted by America's Corvette Club and held on the tree-lined slopes at southeastern Michigan's largest and most scenic ski area. It draws Corvette aficionados from across Michigan and surrounding states, as well as from Canada, California, Oregon, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York.
"Spectators will view some of the finest examples of the Corvette line competing for over 35 awards," says the event's promoter, Jim McDonald. "In addition, numerous Corvette aftermarket products will be offered by leading Corvette suppliers, and other automotive-related businesses will display products and services, all surrounded by the ambiance of the Michigan countryside."
The event unofficially starts on the Friday before the show, with a Corvette Track Day at Waterford Hills Raceway in southeast Michigan.
The show day features two competitions: a judged Show & Shine and a National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC)-sanctioned People's Choice. This year special recognition will be paid to all registered '61 Corvettes, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their production. Proceeds from the show will be donated to local and national charitable organizations.
ExtraVETTEganza: Slidell, Louisiana
Date: October 15, 2011
Location: Bayou Country Village; Slidell, Louisiana
Entry Fee: $40; Spectator admission is free
Check it out!: www.gnocc.com
The ExtraVETTEganza all-Corvette car show is a Cajun-country celebration of America's Favorite Sports Car, presented by the Greater New Orleans Corvette Club. Now in its 20th year, the event features 200-plus Corvettes from all six generations, people's choice and judged "Best of" awards, and national and regional vendors. It's held at Slidell, Louisiana's Bayou Country Village, an elegant gift shop/deli with a New Orleans flare.
Embracing the regional credo of laissez les bon temps rouler (literal translation: "Let the good times roll"), the event attracts the majority of its attendees from the Deep South, including Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, though Corvette owners from all across America are welcome to join in on the fun. Come a day early and enjoy the Friday night pre-show get-together, featuring great Cajun and Creole food, lots of Southern hospitality, and the company and camaraderie of many of the South's Corvette cognoscenti.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children of the greater New Orleans area.
"Glad to see y'all come," says GNOCC President Malcolm Graff.
The following Corvette show has already come around for 2011, but it'll be back in 2012. Be sure to mark it on your calendar.
Vettes in the Valley: Maggie Valley, North Carolina
Date: May 26-27, 2012
Location: Festival Grounds; Maggie Valley, North Carolina
Entry Fee: $45; Spectator admission is $5
Check it out!: www.smokyevents.com
This Corvette gathering stakes its ground at one of the most picturesque settings in the U.S.—the middle of the Smoky Mountains, nestled 26 miles from the Tennessee border and 21 miles from Ashville, North Carolina. It's held every Memorial Day weekend, features more than 350 Corvettes and 5,000-plus spectators, and includes non-points sanctioned judged and people's choice car shows with trophies and awards, vendors, a road rally, live entertainment, the Tribute to Wounded Warriors Corvette parade, and much more.