Five thousand Corvettes and 30,000 people are expected in Champaign this weekend. Cathy Winters, vice president of operations for the Bloomington Gold Corvette Show, offers five tips for classic car watchers who turn out Friday through Sunday west of State Farm Center:
1. Best times
If you're a morning person, the biggest traffic flow will be around Kirby Avenue and Oak Street from about 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Later, the Gold Tour takes drivers from State Farm Center to Monticello, starting at 6 p.m. If you want to get up close, the cost is $20 for a day pass, $45 for a weekend pass and $10 for Sunday.
2. Happy anniversary
The Gold Tour starts with a lot of '64 models. We hope you look this good at 50.
3. Word on the street
Starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Kirby Avenue, from Oak to Fourth Street, will be closed to traffic. Portions of First Street will also be blocked.
These downtown Champaign streets will also be closed from 6 a.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Sunday: Walnut Street between Market and Main; Washington Street between Neil and Market; Hickory Street between Columbia and Washington; and Fremont Street (north of the News-Gazette building to Washington St.)
Closed between 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday: Neil Street between Hill and University (University Avenue will remain open for traffic); Neil between University and Clark; Park Street between Randolph and Neil; Main Street between Neil and Chestnut; Chester Street between Neil and Market; Walnut Street between Main and Chester; Market Street between Main and University; and Chestnut Street between Main and University.
4. Alternate viewing site
Head to Neil Street and Kirby Avenue, Winters says. You'll see action every 20 to 30 seconds starting at 6 p.m. Saturday. Afterwards, check out the Blues Brews and BBQ festival in downtown Champaign.
5. Piatt is Honk-At County
Winters recommends the Monticello town square. "They all pass each other coming and going; there's a lot of whooping and hollering." Bloomington Gold's Lori Wormans says the participants chose the route, and enjoyed it last year.