An army of hot rod enthusiasts will roll into town from far and wide to celebrate the nation’s classic cars during the 17th annual Holley National Hot Rod Reunion.
Larry Fisher, executive director of the National Hot Rod Association Motorsports Museum in Pomona, Calif., which uses the reunion as a fundraiser, said the event gives hot rodders a chance to celebrate their automotive culture and was originally founded as a way to bridge a generational gap in the hot rodding community.
“The whole purpose of the Hot Rod Reunion was to provide a venue for the hot rodders of yesterday to meet with the younger hot rodders of today,” he said.
The festivities begin Thursday and run through Saturday, promising a three-day car show and several racing competitions, including races for the funny car and gasser race classes.
One-day tickets can be purchased at nhramuseum.org for $25 apiece.
The reunion will take place at Beech Bend Park’s drag strip raceway at 798 Beech Bend Road, with the exception of a ceremony recognizing National Hot Rod Association drag racer Randy Walls and other reunion honorees at the National Corvette Museum at 6 p.m. Friday.
The ceremony at the Corvette museum, which will also recognize other fixtures in the drag racing world like Army Armstrong, Steve Earwood and Art Marshall, is free to attend, according to an NHRA news release.
At Beech Bend, the spectator gates will open at 8 a.m. on all three days.
Each day will include drag racing and the Axalta Show ’N Shine car show, according to a schedule of events at nhramuseum.org.
The reunion is expected to conclude Saturday around sunset with the Cacklefest Parade and Presentation, Fisher said.
“That’s a mass ignition on the track of classic race cars,” he said. “It’s kind of like our version of fireworks.”
Fisher said the NHRA holds the reunion in Bowling Green each year because Beech Bend has the right vintage drag racing environment for the event.
“It still has that feel, the covered grandstands, the proximity to the track,” he said.
Bowling Green is also centrally located within the eastern United States, making the city an obvious location for the reunion, Fisher said.
“We get racers coming to this from all over the country and spectators, too,” he said.
Janet Henderson of the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau said the reunion is one of the three largest automotive events in Bowling Green each year, as well as a massive economic boost for the city.
“It’s a wonderful economic impact for our community,” she said. “All these visitors need hotel rooms and they eat at our restaurants and see our attractions and they love to go shopping. ...
“We’re just thrilled to have them in Bowling Green year after year and we hope they keep coming for many years to come,” she said.
– Follow Daily News reporter Jackson French on Twitter @Jackson_French or visit bgdailynews.com.