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Corvettes convene in city

August 18, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Corvette lovers found their automotive heaven in the Hub City this weekend as the National Council of Corvette Clubs rolled into downtown Sunday.

The 44th East Regional Convention featured food, music from 1960s artists like Joey Dee and the Starliters and The Contours and, of course, plenty of Corvettes.

About 250 of the cars, including anniversary editions, convertibles, Stingrays and pace cars used at previous Indianapolis 500 races, lined downtown's Central Parking Lot.

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Ed Hood, a Hagerstown resident who has lived in the downtown area for the last two years, said he has been eagerly anticipating the event for several weeks.

"Reading about it in a magazine, I thought that it was very interesting," Hood said. "To have that sort of flavor in Hagerstown is good for everyone. And to have that parade drive past my house is amazing."

Hood, who like many passing by the line of Corvettes ogled at the immaculate silver Lingenfelter Twin Turbo 427 model parked a few feet from Washington Street, said he was glad to see an event draw people downtown to see the "good side" of the heart of the city.

Most onlookers seemed to be impressed with the older and more rare models, as well.

"Myself, I like old cars, and there's some really nice ones here," William Stouffer said.

Stouffer, who perused the line of Corvettes with his wife, Lyndsie, also said he was pleased to see the city put together something interesting in the downtown area for nearby residents. City resident Tom West, who accidentally happened upon the event while taking an afternoon trip to Dairy Queen, echoed the sentiment, saying such events promote community camaraderie.

"I think whenever you have something like this, people will come out," West said. "It's a good site, a nice day and it's fun to look at the 'vettes."

Ben Hart, president of the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he hopes hosting the Corvette convention helps officials bring other high-profile events to Hagerstown.

"Anytime you can host something like this, it's a feather in our cap," Hart said.

Event Coordinator George Gallant, of the National Council of Corvette Clubs, said the participants enjoyed their weekend in Hagerstown and were especially excited to find more than 1,000 locals at a car show held Sunday at Hoffman Chevrolet. The participants will move on from downtown this week to participate in road racing at Summit Point (W.Va.) Raceway, drag races at the Mason-Dixon Speedway and a convention-ending Corvette rally at Valley Mall starting at 8 a.m. Thursday.

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