Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 9:34 PM
Last year, Corvettes at Carlisle had an unwanted visitor — Tropical Storm Irene.
The storm forced organizers to cancel a number of events, including the annual Awards Parade, where Corvette owners recognized by enthusiasts and GM representatives get to motor their cars through the fairgrounds.
This year, Carlisle Events hopes to make it up to last year’s winners by giving them their parade.
“I felt it was unfair,” said Lance Miller, co-owner of Carlisle Events. “When they get [the award], it’s a huge deal and quite an honor. [This is] the photo opportunity they never got.”
The 2011 Awards Parade will take place Friday, opening day. (Thursday is the preview day.) About 50 of last year’s winners plan to take part.
About 5,000 Corvettes will be on hand for what has become one of the highlights of Carlisle Events’ series of automotive shows.
“I always say it’s the biggest and best, but I’m biased,” Miller said.
The really big draw this year will be the Cunningham Corvette.
The car was one of three Corvettes commissioned to race in the 1960 Le Mans by American sportsman Briggs Cunningham. Two had been found (one is part of the Miller family’s private collection), but the No. 1 car had long been believed to be lost before being spotted in June in Florida.
The car will have a grand unveiling to a limited audience at 7 p.m. Thursday and will be on display all weekend.
“It’s big news in the auto hobby world,” Miller said. “A lot of people are looking forward to seeing the unveiling of this.”
In addition, visitors to this year’s show will have the chance to win a 1998 Corvette Coupe, test drive Corvettes at the nearby Carlisle Expo Center, get their car diagnosed, see a 50th-anniversary display and meet with dozens of GM and Corvette engineers and technicians.
“[The engineers] get very strong feedback from owners,” Miller said. “People will give them feedback, and next year you’ll see it implemented. How often do you see that in a car?”
But perhaps most importantly, the event gives die-hard Corvette owners the opportunity to not only indulge in their passion but also meet with their fellow Vette aficionados and talk shop.
“The car itself has a truly passionate ownership behind it. It’s the camaraderie behind it all,” Miller said. “We just provide a fun venue for like-minded individuals to get to know each other. It’s a reunion for them.”
IF YOU GO: Corvettes at Carlisle is Thursday through Sunday at Carlisle Fairgrounds, 1000 Bryn Mawr Road, Carlisle. Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Cost: $14 per day; $40 for a four-day pass; free for ages 8 and under. Info: www.carlisleevents.com or 717-243-7855.