The National Corvette Museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation, opened in 1994 and boasts over 28,000 members with over 230,000 visitors annually. In celebration of the Museum’s 25th Anniversary, the sixth National Corvette Caravan will be held leading to festivities at the Museum August 28-31. One of the top five automotive museums in the country, the Museum expects over 10,000 Corvette owners to convene in Bowling Green, Kentucky for the festivities.
Starting from various cities throughout America, it has been dubbed the world’s largest moving automotive event. A rare occasion, the Caravan only takes place every five years to align with the Museum’s milestone anniversaries. “It’s a spectacle, especially for those unsuspecting motorists who get to experience a leg of the Caravan pass them by,” said Katie Ellison, Director of Marketing and Communications. “We are fortunate to have loyal Corvette enthusiasts who serve as volunteer captains for this massive event. They spend years coordinating their trek across the country, planning fun stops along the way.”
One such captain is the Pacific Northwest Caravan’s Ken Thomas. Ken’s participation in the 2014 Caravan was in an unconventional way, as he and wife Kathi were taking a ‘rogue’ journey on their own to Bowling Green. “As we drove, off and on we’d see a bunch of Corvettes and drive along with them,” said Thomas. “We pulled over for what we thought would be a quick pit stop, and that’s when things changed.” Ken and Kathi’s 2007 Z06 decided to lock itself with the key fob inside. “Low and behold, one of the other Corvette owners in the Caravan had AAA. We told them to go ahead that we would be fine, but they waited an hour and a half with us until AAA arrived to open the car.”
From this point on, the couple formed what Ken calls a “Corvette brothership” and said that’s what led him to volunteer for the captain role. “I get to meet some really nice people, see some beautiful country, get out on the open road with a bunch of Corvettes, and have a good time. That’s what it’s all about! The ambition, drive, enthusiasm and love for one another is what makes us all Corvette brothers.”
Upon arrival in Bowling Green, participants will enjoy three days of exciting Corvette lifestyle, including a kickoff firework show and concert by Jefferson Starship on Thursday, August 29 with a Journey tribute band opening the show at 5pm CT. The public is invited to participate in the concert and fireworks, with general admission tickets priced at $25, available on the Museum’s website. The concert is included with Anniversary event registration.
Other activities include touring laps at the NCM Motorsports Park, seminars lead by GM / Corvette designers and engineers, Michelin, Mobil and others, themed dinners like a ‘Party Like It’s 1994’ mixer, demonstrations and walk-around talks with the 1953 and V-12 Falconer Corvettes and 2019 Corvette Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“We want visitors to experience the unique offerings in our area, so many attractions are hosting their own special activities,” said Ellison. “For example, Boyce General Store’s ‘Pie Queen’ (Brie Golliher) is hosting a pie making class where guests can learn how to make one of her tasty creations. She and husband, Brad, are also hosting one of their ever-popular fish frys, complete with live Bluegrass music.”
Ellison shared that the Historic Railpark and Train Museum is planning USO-themed variety shows with dinner, featuring tribute entertainers performing acts from Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters and more. “Even some of the surrounding counties are getting in on the action. Simpson County has a few road tours planned, and Hart County has special ‘behind the scenes’ tours at Kentucky Down Under and Hidden River Cave,” Ellison added.
While many caravans and Corvette clubs are planning their own off-site activities, there will plenty to keep guests busy at the Museum. General Motors has confirmed the presence of a 2,500 square foot interactive mobile showroom to display the 2020 mid-engine Corvette Stingray and all the car’s exterior and interior options. In addition to seeing at least two examples of the highly anticipated eighth generation Corvette, the display will showcase all 12 paint color options, wheel finishes, colored brake calipers, Michelin tire options, nine interior schemes, three seat designs, six seatbelt colors and more. Guests must be registered for the event to visit the special C8 display.
GM Certified Corvette Technicians Paul Koerner and Brittany George will be on-site, offering walk up assistance and seminars, vendors, including Xpel, the official paint protection and window tint provider of the event, will offer installation services. The Corvette Store will welcome more than a dozen Store Partners, offering an array of wares, apparel, car care products, art, aftermarket parts and more. Thanks to several of the Bowling Green hotels, carnival-style activities will be available, including mini golf, for registered guests to participate in.
While pre-registration closed on July 11, on-site registration will be available starting Tuesday, August 27. Registration is $35 for Lifetime Museum Members, $45 for Members and $70 for Non-Members for the three-day event. Learn more at corvettemuseum.org and corvettecaravan.com and follow the action on social media at #caravan2019. And if you see a Corvette, be sure to wave!