Watkins Glen prepares for Grand Prix Festival

Nine groups of vehicles will take turns driving the original race circuit for the 23rd anniversary Grand Prix Festival of Watkins Glen on Sept. 9.

Watkins Glenís racing history will be celebrated as street-legal sports cars, antique cars, vintage motorcycles and race cars do their laps throughout the day under the sponsor banner Cayuga Health System Laps of the Old Course.

The village is the home of the first post-World War II road race. A 6.6-mile circuit was used from 1948-52, after which the races moved off village streets and limited to rural town roads, until the current, world-renowned race track was built.

The Grand Prix Festival begins at 9:30 a.m. with the re-enactment of car technical inspections at Smalleyís garage on Franklin Street, where those inspections happened 68 years ago. The daylong celebration of sports cars and racing history ends with fireworks in the Watkins Glen State Park gorge parking lot at approximately 8 p.m.