National Hot Rod Reunion

Hot rods drivers and crews stage Thursday, June 13, 2019, before racing during the 17th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Park. 

The Holley Hot Rod Reunion will make its triumphant return to Bowling Green this week after the three-day event was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting Thursday, thousands of hot rod enthusiasts from across the country will make the pilgrimage to Beech Bend Park, where they will celebrate their love for automotive culture.

National Hot Rod Association Motorsports Museum Executive Director Martin Betz said the reunion’s comeback is a welcome sight. The event is one of the entity’s largest annual fundraisers.

“We are obviously very excited to be here again,” he said. “This is one of the nicest events in Bowling Green of the year. We are looking forward to having one of the biggest events we have ever had. I think people are just looking to get out and do something fun once again.”

Spectator gates will open all three days at 8 a.m., and each day will include drag racing and the PPG Show ’N Shine car show. A full schedule of events can be found at

Betz said the event will attract an estimated 20,000 visitors.

Tickets are $25 a person and can be purchased at the gate, but only cash will be accepted. All proceeds will go to the NHRA museum.

Registration for those seeking to display their vehicles during the car show is available at the ticket office.

Betz said one of the reunion’s main attractions will be the Cacklefest Parade & Presentation on Saturday night.

The Cacklefest will be a showcase where old drag cars will be lined up and their engines will fire off, creating a thunderous display of noise and fire.

While spectators will be treated to plenty of exciting events during the reunion, Betz said you don’t have to be a racing enthusiast to enjoy the three-day event.

“There is something here for everybody,” he said. “Lots of merchandise and food will be sold over the three days as well. We are the church of the history of these things. It’s not as much of a race as it is a place for people to come together and look at the past.”

While the NHRA museum is based in Pomona, Calif., Betz said Bowling Green is an ideal spot for the reunion because the raceway at Beech Bend Park has the appropriate “nostalgic feel” for the event.

Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Group Sales Director Janet Henderson also sees the reunion’s return as extremely positive news.

“They are a long-standing car event here in our community, and it kicks off our summer,” Henderson said. “Anytime we bring a large number of visitors it is beneficial to the entire community’s economy. With this being our first big event and one of the largest car show events post COVID-19 – we are expecting a wonderful turnout. We are extremely pleased they are here.”

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit