WENY News - Thousands Attend 25th Annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix

Thousands Attend 25th Annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WENY) -- Thousands of race and history fans flocked to Downtown Watkins Glen Friday night for the annual Vintage Grand Prix Festival. 

The event has been running since 1993, marking Friday's showing as the 25th year. Specialized vintage car owners have a chance to show off their old-school wheels, while car and racing fans were able to watch the vehicles in action.

Various events take place in Downtown Watkins Glen all day long, but the main event kicked off at 6:00 p.m. That's when the vintage race cars get to participate in the original 6.6 mile racing road course. 

The Vintage Grand Prix is designed to recreate the ambiance and excitement of the races in from the 1948-1952 range, which first put Watkins Glen on the map. 

When fans were asked to describe their favorite part of the event, many had quite direct answers. 

"The cars. The cars and the people," says Chris Smalley, Sr. whose family runs Smalley's Garage, which has been in Watkins Glen since 1941. 

"Definitely the cars, yep! The cars, the noise, the smell of the fuel burning, everything like that," says Chris Smalley, II. 

The event not only attracts local fans from the Watkins Glen and Finger Lakes region, but also brings in people from other parts of the country. 

"Well we heard about it and we were trying to find something for us to go sight-see while we're here, because we're only here for two more days. And so they said, 'Oh hey there's an event going on. Let's go check it out!' It's really awesome! We want to move here now!" says Stephanie Anfinson, who was traveling with her family from Louisiana. 

Last year, an estimated 25,000 people attended the event. 

Information about the Vintage Grand Prix Festival, including original racing road course maps, can be found here: http://www.grandprixfestival.com/

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