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Autorama returns to downtown Erwin

David Floyd and Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Jun 2, 2017 at 5:29 PM

ERWIN — Hundreds of classic automobiles will line the streets of downtown Erwin Saturday for the 57th annual Southeastern Autorama.

Joey Bailey, president of the Southeastern Autorama Car Club, said the cars could range from early 20th century vehicles to late model muscle cars.

“A lot of people bring out Dodge Challengers and Ford Mustang muscle cars, things like that. We run the gamut from one end to the other,” Bailey said.

In past years as many as 225 vehicles have entered the event. And while the numbers have been down in recent years, organizers hope the Autorama’s return to downtown Erwin for the first time in 40 years will boost participation. Free vehicle entry fees for car owners and free admission for the public is also expected to be a big plus.

“This is the first time we’ve had it downtown since probably the mid-70s. Hopefully that’ll be a bigger draw,” Bailey said.

In addition to the car show, the Autorama will include an owner’s car corral sale and swap meet, prize drawings, craft, commercial and specialty food vendors, and the inaugural running of a Community Pinewood Derby sponsored by the RISE Erwin young professional group.

Main Avenue will be closed to vehicle traffic early Saturday morning and the Autorama will start 8 a.m. Drawings for car owner door prizes will conducted every hour on the hour starting at 9. And awards and trophies for the top 25 cars and Best of Show will be presented at 3 p.m

The Pinewood Derby will start at 1 p.m. on a track setup on the courthouse plaza.

RISE Erwin has been selling Pine Derby car kits for the race since early this year and President Jamie Rice said about 50 kit-built cars are expected to take part in the side-by-side, downhill track racing.

“That’s our goal. For a first time event, we think 50 is an ambitious number,” Rice said.

Tickets for a 50/50 prize drawing open to the public will abe sold throughout the day, with half of the final pot going to the drawing winner and the other half to a scholarship for a Unicoi County High School senior with plans to pursue college degree or vocational training for career in the automotive field.

The scholarship would have pleased the late Paul Osborne, a former paint and body teacher at Unicoi County Vocational School to whom this year’s Autorama is being dedicated.

Osborn, who passed away in April, was also a long time Autorama Club member and the proud owner of a 1930 Model A Ford Fordor.

Rice, who also serves as communications specialist for the town of Erwin, said the town and RISE Erwin are providing support to this year’s Autorama in a shared effort to bring more family-oriented activities to downtown.

Food will be available for purchase throughout the day from Auntie Ruth’s Doughnuts, Unicoi County Relay for Life, and other specialty booth and food truck vendors. Event T-shirts will also be available for purchase.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.


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