Annual event to make overnight stop in Littleton

Littleton's main street will welcome more than 100 vehicles making an overnight stop June 23 in the town as part of the annual Great Race.

By Tom Munds
Posted 6/6/01

Littleton's main street will welcome more than 100 vehicles making an overnight stop June 23 in the town as part of the annual Great Race. The Great …

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Annual event to make overnight stop in Littleton

Littleton's main street will welcome more than 100 vehicles making an overnight stop June 23 in the town as part of the annual Great Race.

Posted

Littleton's main street will welcome more than 100 vehicles making an overnight stop June 23 in the town as part of the annual Great Race.

The Great Race, sponsored by the History Channel, is a cross-country race for vintage cars, most built before 1951.

This year's 4,000-mile route runs from Atlanta, Ga., to Pasadena, Calif. The map lays out four daily pit stops - one in the morning, one for lunch, one in the afternoon, and an overnight stop.

This year, the overnight stopover is in Littleton.

Main Street through downtown Littleton will be closed starting about 2 p.m. Three local groups, the Early Ford V-8 Club, the RMVR Car Club and Colorado Classic Cars, will have vehicles on display, and there will concession booths, live music and a 1920s to 1940s costume contest.

As part of the ceremony, the 22-member U.S. Navy Ceremonial Band, which is traveling across the country with the Great Race, will play patriotic songs to greet the racers. There will be parking spaces along main street where the cars will stop so teams can visit with those who turned out for the day's activities.

Because Main Street will be blocked off, there will be free parking at Arapahoe Community College.

This is the second time Littleton has been an overnight stop for the Great Race. The race came to town in June 1998.

The city competed for the right to be a stop again this year. A group of downtown Littleton car enthusiasts head the project to earn the honor for the city.

"Stedman Stewart was involved when the Great Race came to town in '98 and got the ball rolling this year and was looking for volunteers to help put it on," said John Grady, one of the volunteer race organizers,. "Some car enthusiasts like myself, including Brian Thornton and Bill Bradley, agreed to help and we're hard at it."

One of the first steps was circulating petition among downtown businesses, agreeing to shutting down Main Street on the day the race comes to town and getting Littleton City Council approval for the event. Once those hurdles were cleared, the next step was publicity and fund-raising.

Grady said fund-raising is important because it costs about $17,000 to bring the race to town. The costs include the fee of $12,000 to the Great Race plus money for barricades, portable toilets and traffic control. He said the group planed to increase the effort this week to raise funds.

"One source we hope will bring in funds is asking businesses, organizations or individuals to sponsor a Great Race car as it comes to town," Grady said. "The cost is $125 for a car and for the money, the sponsor's name is announced as the car comes across the finish line, the sponsor walks along side the car as it goes to its assigned parking place on Main Street. There also can be a sign at the parking place announcing the name of the local sponsor."

The group also is looking for event sponsors and other financial support. Anyone interested in more information about being a sponsor or who wants to sponsor a car can call Bill Bradley at (303) 901-5498.

This marks the 19th year for the Great Race. Each year, the route is different, usually alternating, with a east-to-west route one year and a west-to-east route the next year, always without using Interstate highways.

This year's route comes from the east, winds its way from Georgia, north and west to South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee, eventually leading into Kansas. The night before arriving in Littleton, the teams spend the night in Salina, Kan. On June 23, the route stops at Hays and Colby, Kan., Burlington, then Littleton.

When the racers leave Littleton, they go to Leadville, Eagle and stop overnight and for a day off in Glenwood Springs.

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