The story of the Corvette begins at Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WENY) -- The first Corvette Festival in Watkins Glen drew hundreds of people to Clute Park on Saturday. Also known as America's sports car, Harley Earl invented the Corvette.
But, did you know? The idea for the Corvette originated in Watkins Glen.
Harley Earl was a prominent figure in the automotive industry, just after World War II. He got the idea to make a Corvette when he stopped in Watkins Glen, on his way to the Paris Auto Show.
According to Harley's grandson Richard Earl, when Harley came to town, he saw beautiful sports cars. All of the vehicles were from foreign car makers, and Harley had to do something about the lack of American-made sports cars.
"He was like – this isn’t right. We've got to create our own version. He wanted that grace, style, and beauty, and hence two years later, he sent back the Corvette," said R. Earl.
R. Earl said having an event to honor the history of the Corvette is special. "There’s just this history and heritage, you have to immortalize it, conserve this and hand it on to the next-gen. It’s something to be really proud of. Let's face it, the Corvette brand is as famous as baseball and apple pie."
Tony Vickio helped organize the event along with R. Earl and Craig Bond, the Superintendent of Parks and Rec in Watkins Glen.
While Vickio helped organize the Corvette Festival, he also had a car to show off. Vickio brought his 1965 'Fuel Injected' Corvette Sting Ray. According to Vickio, it's one of 771 cars that were produced, has its original factory-tinted glass, and he's just the third owner of the car.
"It's a miracle this car is still here. I was young when I bought this, and we were out at 2 a.m. drag racing people from all over," Vickio chuckled.
Western New York Corvette Club member Lou Atti also attended the festival and said it was awesome. He said he's already looking forward to next year.
"How often do you get to go to the town or community where the vehicle was invented from the car you’re driving? I mean, this is outstanding," said Atti.
If you missed out on Saturday's Corvette Festival, there's still a chance to see some Corvettes on Sunday, May 21st.
At the Glen Beacon Theater, the short film '25 Years of Speed' will play at noon. Around 12:30 p.m., roughly 150 Corvettes will line Franklin Street for a historic reenacted race on the old Glen Circuit. The reenacted race will start around 2 p.m.