WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Classic cars of all colors and models were rolling in Friday for the 20th annual Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, a party to commemorate the area's rich racing history.
"We are celebrating the early days of racing in the streets. We raced in Watkins Glen from 1948 to 1952 and the cars came right down Main Street," said Marianne Shoemaker, festival chairman.
On a 6.6 mile road course that can still be driven today.
"Right down Franklin Street, they went up Route 329, went around the hills through something called White's Hollow that actually goes through the state park and comes down Route 409 and ends up right down on Main Street again," said Shoemaker.
Elliott Hillback joins the racing community from Boston as he displays six of his show cars to enthusiasts.
"This is one of the friendliest, most fun shows. It's one of those places where people really want to come and see great cars. It's got the great racing tradition, so you got both on the same weekend," said Hillback.
He describes himself as the 'old retired guy who loves cars.' Building or rebuilding them, to seeing the final product and the reactions people give at shows like here in Schuyler County.
"The thing that I find fun and I do it a lot here more than I do at any other show, is I get kids to sit in the cars, I get some big kids to sit in the cars and say, why don't you start this, I do that with the 599 and the SLS," said Hillback
Hillback has been coming here to Watkins Glen for years. And what keeps him coming back, besides the racing, are the regular visitors he sees year after year.
"People show up and say, 'oh I'm so glad to see you're here again, we missed you two years ago,' they knew I wasn't here, so they're really nice, relaxed, fun and that's what this show, this town, all this weekend, all the rallies, the whole town is geared to make everybody have a good time," said Hillback.
Visitors don't have to drive off just yet because the green flag will be waving for this weekend's Glenora Wine Cellar's U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at WGI.
Organizers say a fan favorite of the festival is the re-enactment of the original Grand Prix race in downtown Watkins Glen.