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Grand Prix Festival is vintage Watkins

WATKINS GLEN—The streets of Watkins Glen will be lined with auto enthusiasts Friday, recreating the days when the village itself was part of the famous race course.
This year’s Vintage Grand Prix Festival will be Friday, Sept. 10, and will once again take place throughout the Watkins Glen area. This year’s featured marque car is the Alfa Romeo. The car to win the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) first, all-out road race in 1948 was a 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B.
Returning again this year are the reenactment races and runs of the original 6.6 mile race track throughout the day. This includes a special run for only models of the marque car. Carole Pierce, Watkins Glen Promotions special events manager, added that “more cars than ever” registered for the events this year.
Pierce said the new event is the Community Bank Concours d’LeMons. This addition to the festival focuses on the “underappreciated, the overly ridiculed, or the downright ignored automotive jewels.”
This year, a memorial will be conducted in honor of Florence “Flossie” Smalley and Adele Sautter. Flossie was involved with the original inspections from 1948 to 1962. Sautter portrayed Flossie at the festival every year since 1998, but passed away earlier this year. This is in place of the tech inspection reenactment.
Events start in the morning and run all day, until fireworks at 8 p.m. It is free to walk around and peruse the cars on display. The event schedule includes:
7:30 a.m.
• Knapp Vineyards Sporting Roadster Tour arrival and registration begins at the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC).
8 a.m.
• Glenora Run Road Rally cars arrive at Glenora Wine Cellars.
9 a.m.
• WGI Tour de Marque group arrives at the Wings of Eagles.
• Red Newt Cellars Founders’ Tour arrival and registration begins at Red Newt Cellars, Hector.
9:30 a.m.
• Memorial Gathering for Adele Sautter and Florence Smalley at Smalley’s Garage on Franklin Street. The event will also feature car discussions.
10 a.m.
• Chemung Canal Trust Concours d’Elegance begins at Watkins Glen State Park.
• Keystone Cards Model Car Concours d’Elegance opens at Watkins Glen State Park.
• Concours d’LeMons begins at Community Bank, Fourth and Franklin Streets.
• Memorabilia booths open on Franklin Street
11 a.m.
• Glenora Run cars arrive in Montour Falls for the “Montour Mile.”
• Concours d’Elegance judging begins, Watkins Glen State Park.
• Walk of Fame Inductions at the Court House Lawn on Franklin Street.
1:10 to 4:30 p.m.
In sequence, the following Stone Bridge Driver events take two laps of the original course:
• WGI Tour de Marque.
• Concours d’LeMons.
• Glenora Run.
• Founders’ Tour.
• Sporting Roadster Tour.
• Concours d’Elegance.
1:30 p.m.
• Learn Motors Glenkhana begins at 502 N. Franklin St.
2 p.m.
• Tour de Marque Alfa Romeos parked for display at Lafayette Park.
• Kid Racer School and Derby begins, Franklin and Fourth Streets.
3 p.m.
• The Legends Speak, Lafayette Park, Fourth Street.
4:30 p.m.
• SVRA Race Cars arrive from WGI.
5 p.m.
• Concours d’Elegance Awards Ceremony, original start/finish line.
5:35 p.m.
• Pre-event ceremonies at the start/finish line.
6:10 p.m.
• SVRA Watkins Glen Heritage Tour parade laps on the original circuit.
6:30 p.m.
• Watkins Glen Grand Prix Tribute laps on the original circuit.
8 p.m.
• Fireworks at the entrance to the Watkins Glen State Park gorge.
There will also be a number of streets closed during the event. Franklin Street, between Second and 10th, will be closed starting at 1 p.m. It reopens at 9 p.m., following the end of the festival.
Fifth through 10th Streets, between Franklin and Decatur, will also be closed starting at noon. Third Street will be closed all day. The original 6.6 mile circuit will be closed to the public from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Free parking and pickup/drop-off will be available at the Watkins Glen Central School bus garage (south end of Decatur Street), Watkins Glen High School (12th Street), and Clute Park Community Center (Route 414 east of bridge). Drivers should watch for signs. Please park at one of these locations and ride the shuttle to the Festival.
Passenger stops are available along Decatur Street between Ninth and 10th Streets and at Lafayette Park. There is no parking allowed at these locations.


Photos: Craig S. Nelson/The Observer, REVIEW&EXPRESS


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