Grand Prix Festival set for Friday

WATKINS GLEN (9/7/2016)--The annual Grand Prix Festival and Vintage Grand Prix races will be reunited this weekend after being separated last year. This comes after the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix was held in July of 2015 due to the repaving at Watkins Glen International (WGI), while the festival was still held during its traditional September date. This year's events will begin with the festival Friday, Sept. 9, and will continue at the racetrack through Sunday, Sept. 11. The festival is presented by Chemung Canal Trust Company, while the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix is presented by Jaguar.

According to Watkins Glen Promotions, the festival drew an estimated 25,000 people to the village last year. Corvette is the featured marque car this year, with Marianne Shoemaker estimating some 115 Corvettes are participating. She said the Corvettes will be on display in LaFayette Park, along with several others along Franklin Street and on the courthouse lawn.

"The crowd usually packs the village to capacity," Shoemaker said. "[The event] sells itself. I think the locals appreciate getting back in touch with the history of vintage cars."

The highlight of Friday's event is the Sportscar Vintage Racing Asociation's (SVRA) Watkins Glen Heritage Tour parade laps on the original circuit. The "pre-race" ceremonies begin at 5:35 p.m., with the parade laps beginning at 6:10 p.m. The evening will conclude with the Maguire Chrysler of Watkins Glen fireworks display at 8 p.m. at Watkins Glen State Park, prior to Franklin Street reopening at 9 p.m.

Events and times are subject to change. For more, visit the website www.GrandPrixFestival.com.

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