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Saturday, May 20 - Sunday, May 21, 2023 | Clute Park & Downtown Watkins Glen

Celebrating 70 Years of the Corvette

Saturday, May 20th, 2023 –

10 am to 5 pm – Corvette Car Show | Clute Park, Watkins Glen

6 pm – The Legacy of Harley J Earl – Keynote Address – Richard Earl | Watkins Glen Community Center

Sunday, May 21st, 2023 –

On Sunday the Seneca Harbor Station has offered to open up for a breakfast buffet but you must register online for this. It is $19.99 and there is 2 sessions, please see the links to register. Located in front of the Pier at 3 N Franklin St:

8 am:
9:30 am:

3 pm - 5 pm – Drive the Historic Glen Circuit 

Harley J. Earl occupies a very special place in the storied car legacies of Watkins Glen, NY. Harley J. Earl Earl is considered the father of the Corvette, for his imagination formed the idea of designing a sports car built in America. The idea was inspired in 1951, when he drove the LeSabre concept car as the pace car at the Fourth Grand Prix auto race in Watkins Glen, New York, in September 1951. An estimated 25,000 spectators watched the 15-lap Grand Prix, won by Phil Walters in a 1951 Cunningham Special with an average speed of 77.7 mph – ironically an American-made car. (Source: Cooper, Watkins Glen Tour Guide, 2009). Earl was taken by the American crowd’s reaction to European roadsters like Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Porsche, and Ferrari.

Earl, the General Motors Vice President and Director of Styling and Design, launched “Project Opel, " a secret project to design a car that could rival the European models. The first Corvette debuted with a six-cylinder engine, drum brakes, and an automatic transmission. (Source: Earl sent one of the earliest-production '53 Corvettes to Glen Chevrolet in Watkins Glen, to garner a public reaction.

In a January 1954 interview with Detroit journalist Stanley H. Brams, Earl acknowledged his role in the Corvette's creation. "The Corvette was a little thing that I started," Earl said. "I ran that LeSabre up pacing a sports-car race at Watkins Glen, and that's where I got the idea."



​Harley Earl driving his design

 2023 marks the 70th anniversary of the Corvette – originally designed and engineered by Harley Earl – inspired by attending races in 1951 at the Glen. In 1953 the first Corvette appeared at the races in Watkins Glen and 2023 marks 70 years of Corvettes as the “American Sportscar”. The Village of Watkins Glen’s Parks, Recreation, and Events Department is sponsoring the “Watkins Glen Corvette Festival” celebrating the legacy of Harley Earl at Clute Park.

The festival starts on Saturday, May 20th with Corvette owners arriving at Clute Park and lining the 5-foot Trailway that surrounds the Seneca Lake Events Center. Drivers are asked to be in position by 9:30 am for the 10 am to 5 pm car exhibit. Visitors will be charged to park at Clute Park and will be allowed to walk through all of the cars that are on display until 5 pm. Food trucks and other Corvette-themed vendors will be located throughout the Park.

 At 5 pm participants are released and eligible to leave Clute Park – however at 6 pm Richard Earl is presenting a keynote address within the Events Center – looking at the history and legacy of his grandfather Harley Earl. The 1-hour presentation will be a seated and videoed event around this original inspiration, development, and anniversary of the initial Corvette from 1953, with emphasis on the General Motors Corvette engineer Harvey J. Earl. Historic images will be presented to attendees for this catered “lite bite” event. Questions will be answered about the longevity and support of the Corvette.

 On Sunday, May 21st – car owners are encouraged to drive the Historic Glen Circuit led by the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office. See the poster below for Sunday events. Around 2:00 pm Tony Vickio under the supervision of the Sheriff’s Car will guide Corvette participants down Franklin Street to the start/finish line in front of the Schuyler County Office building then drive the Original Glen Circuit. Visitors will line Franklin and Fourth Streets of this original course and can watch the lap. 

​For more information on Harley Earl visit

Check out the Facebook Page


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