Parade, car shows and rallies on tap throughout Ocean City
A line of Corvettes parades along the Boardwalk last year, during the 25th annual Free State Corvette Club event in Ocean City. The 2012 edition kicks off today, and will include a Friday night welcoming party at the Clarion, rallies, raffles, an awards dinner and, of course, a Boardwalk parade of Corvettes. (Oct. 12, 2012) Corvettes have been polished and are ready to be displayed during this weekend’s 26th annual Free State Corvette Club event in Ocean City.
More than 450 car owners have pre-registered for the 2012 Corvette Weekend, according to Chairman Wyatt Greenwalt. If the weather is nice, he anticipates in excess of 500 Corvettes will be part of the show, one of the largest club-sponsored Corvette events on the East Coast.
Free State Corvette Club members will be joined by members of other clubs from along the East Coast and beyond. Those who do not belong to a Corvette club are also invited to participate.
Final registration will take place today, Friday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Clarion Resort Hotel on 101st Street, the event’s headquarters. On Saturday, registration will be from 7:30-10 a.m. at the inlet parking lot. The cost is $40 per adult and $8 per child 12 and younger. Car dash plaques will be awarded to the first 600 paid registered participants. The first 1,200 will receive an event pin and patch. There are additional costs to enter the different car shows and rallies.
Weekend activities (rain or shine) include a Friday night welcoming party at the Clarion, a Boardwalk parade of Corvettes, rallies, raffles, an awards dinner and, of course, car shows. Vendors will also have an assortment of merchandise available.
“We have a lot of activities going on, especially on Saturday when most of them will take place,” said Greenwalt, who owns a 2010 Triple Black Grand Sport Corvette.
Admission is free for the public to view the cars at the inlet parking lot.
On Saturday, from 9:45 a.m. to noon, there will be three car shows at the inlet parking lot. There will also be four rallies running simultaneously. Participants may compete in one or more. Each is sanctioned by the National Council of Corvette Clubs.
A Boardwalk parade will start at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday. Spectators may watch from any spot along the parade route.
The club gathering has grown tremendously since its inception, when a few dozen Corvette owners participated, Greenwalt said. In 2011, approximately 600 vehicles were on display.
In 2004, Corvette Weekend became too large for its headquarters at the convention center parking lot on 40th Street, so rather than limit the number of cars that could participate, organizers moved the location to the inlet parking lot.
A large portion of the proceeds will again benefit the Spina Bifida Association of Maryland. In 2011, $36,937 was donated to the association. This year, the club has invited 10 families with members who have spina bifida to the event. They will judge one of the car shows.
The United Service Organization at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport received $8,514 from 2011 show proceeds. The Therapeutic
& Recreational Riding Center, a nonprofit, 55-acre working farm in Howard County, received $5,845 and the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, which facilitates the donation and recovery of human organs and tissues for transplantation and research, was presented with a check for $3,704 last year.
The three organizations will also receive a portion of this year’s proceeds.
The Free State Corvette Club, based in Baltimore, was formed in May 1972 as an organization of car owners with a mutual interest of the Chevrolet Corvette. It has more than 180 members. The club has contributed approximately $600,000 to charities and organizations over the years, primarily from the car weekend.
The FSCC is part of the National Council of Corvette Clubs, which consists of local clubs throughout the nation and has a membership of more than 17,500 car enthusiasts.
The “All-American sports car” first hit the streets in 1953, but the oldest cars at the Ocean City event are traditionally models from the late 1950s. Greenwalt said he knows of one owner who will showcase a 1955 Corvette this weekend.
Only 300 Corvettes were made in 1953.
“You don’t see them a whole lot,” Greenwalt said.
There have been six generations of Corvettes. Greenwalt said he expects to see at least one represented from each class, C1 to C6, and possibly even some 2012 models. Although many Corvette owners drive their cars, most are only for show.
“[Spectators] will see more Corvettes in one place than they’ve seen in their lifetime,” he said.