Corvette spotters will have a field day this weekend at the Bloomington Gold event around the State Farm Center at the University of Illinois.
The premier Corvette event, which started in Bloomington, celebrates its 40th anniversary in its first year in Champaign-Urbana — while the iconic American sports car itself celebrates its 60th anniversary.
Registration for the show begins today (Thursday, June 27), but displays don't open until Friday.
Displays will include shows by owners, a Corvette auction and Corvettes for sale by owners and dealers.
While Bloomington Gold officials don't disclose attendance figures, Jayne DeLuce, president and CEO of the Champaign County Convention & Visitors Bureau said residents should expect more than 3,500 Corvettes and 35,000 show attendees.
Corvette owners come from around the world, and driving sports cars is important to them.
The previous venue, Pheasant Run and Resort in St. Charles, offered great amenities, but the urban setting didn't offer owners a chance at a world record.
On Saturday night, Vette owners will assemble in an attempt to the break the longest continual road tour of 2,223 Corvettes. They will depart from the State Farm Center, wind through the countryside, including through the courthouse square in Monticello, ending in downtown Champaign in time to enjoy the music and food of the Blues, Brews and BBQ festival.
Guy Larsen, president of Bloomington Gold, said in the past the Gold Tour has drawn spectators who come hours ahead to watch the passing cars.
The estimated 30-mile ride will leave Champaign on Illinois 10, head south to Monticello past Lodge Park, circle the courthouse and then return by the same route. Larsen said there were plans to install bleachers on the square in Monticello for spectators.
Other highlights of the show:
Special parking for 50th (1963) and 25th (1988) anniversary Corvettes.
The Great Hall display features 10 people and 10 cars. By 2015, the goal is to feature the 50 top people and 50 Corvettes that pioneered the vehicle's success.
"This is truly a one-of-a-kind display," Larsen said, featuring rarely seen Corvettes and honoring those instrumental in the development and its ongoing story.
A display of the newest, C7 Corvette, with Chevrolet engineers and members of the Chevrolet racing team to answer questions. The C7 won't be delivered to buyers until later this year, but visitors can get a first taste.
Workshops and seminars dealing with topics ranging from collecting and investing, detailing and how to tell original vehicles from restored cars.
Judging of Gold Certified and Survivor categories take place Saturday and Sunday. The awards ceremony will be 1-3 p.m. Sunday.
Corvette owners with a competitive edge can participate in autocross at Parkland College on Saturday and Sunday.
Corvette-only parking at Market Place Mall during the show — with shuttles running to/from the show for Corvette participants 1-4 p.m. Saturday.There's also an outdoor concert tonight at Old Chicago near the mall.
Adding to the hospitality will be the members of the Corvette Club of Illinois, which is based in central Illinois and meets monthly at Sullivan-Parkhill.