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Grand Prix Festival ready to roll on Friday ADVERTISEMENT

Grand Prix Festival ready to roll on Friday

WATKINS GLEN--Approximately 600 classic cars, including a team of Mustangs, will roar into town this weekend for the 29th annual Grand Prix Festival. Held Friday, Sept. 9, with much of the activity on Franklin Street, the Festival is presented by Chemung Canal Trust Company and produced by Watkins Glen Promotions. The annual event is open to the public with complimentary admission and parking. Organizers believe approximately 25,000 people turned out for the 2021 Festival.
Activities happen throughout the day on Friday on or near Franklin Street. The Tech Inspection Re-enactment at Smalley's Garage begins the day at 9:30 a.m. The Hagerty Insurance Concours d'Elegance in the Watkins Glen State Park lot gets underway at 10 a.m., as does the Community Bank Concorso Speciale in the bank parking lot.
Franklin Street will be closed at noon from Fifth through Tenth Streets and from Second through Tenth Streets starting at 12:45 p.m. The Glen's main thoroughfare will reopen at 8:00 p.m. A free shuttle service, with parking at Clute Park and pick-up across Route 414 in front of the camp office, will run from 1:30 p.m. through 9:00 p.m.
Not all events happen downtown. The Glenora Run is an event highlight. Drivers begin this rally at Glenora Wine Cellars, meet in Montour Falls for a lap through Schuyler Hospital's Seneca View parking lot, and complete two laps on the original 6.6-mile road course, featuring hairpin turns, steep grades, various surfaces, and countryside views. The Stone Bridge Drivers - Old Course Lap Tours begin at 1 p.m.
The evening is highlighted by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) cars coming from the racetrack to the village at 4:45 p.m. Prior to the reenactment of the street racing days in the village, a pre-race ceremony will begin at 5:35 p.m. The laps of the original circuit commence after 6 p.m.
Since 1993, the Grand Prix Festival has celebrated the village's connection to motor racing. In October 1948, the nation's first post-World War II road race was held in Watkins Glen. When safety concerns moved racing off of the public streets, the historic road course now located at Watkins Glen International was developed. The ceremonial celebration is an annual reminder of the village's connection to motorsports racing and is held in conjunction with the Hilliard U.S. Grand Prix Weekend, which runs through the weekend at the track.
"We are honored to announce that Al Unser, Jr. will arrive in the village," Marianne Marts, festival management team leader said. "He will serve as this year's Grand Marshal."
This year's featured car, the Mustang, will be on display in Lafayette Park, arriving from their Tour de Marque rally at approximately 2:00 p.m. Nearly 100 Mustangs are expected to participate in the event.
To review the complete schedule for the Grand Prix Festival, including live music and family-friendly activities, see To learn about the Vintage Grand Prix Weekend at WGI, considered one of the largest vintage racing events in the country, visit

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