The Great Race to make June 25 stop in Detroit Lakes
Classic car road race from Warwick, N.J., to Fargo, N.D., will have a four-hour pause at DL's Peoples Park on the last leg of racers' nine-day journey cross country.
DETROIT LAKES — Highway 10 on the west end of Detroit Lakes will be quite a sight during the afternoon of Saturday, June 25, as about 135 classic cars come rolling through town en route to Peoples Park.
"One of the cars is a 1916 Hudson," said Tom Seelye, a Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotarian who, along with co-chair Harrietta Kalberer, is heading up the local club's efforts to welcome participants in The Great Race to the community for an evening of food and entertainment en route to their final destination: Fargo, North Dakota.
The Great Race, the world’s premiere vintage car rally, begins Saturday, June 18 in Warwick, Rhode Island, and proceeds cross country to Fargo, where the race comes to a close on Sunday, June 26.
The racers' stopover in Detroit Lakes is the work of a handful of local Breakfast Rotary Club members, who lobbied with Great Race organizers to persuade them that it was the right destination.
Seelye said he told Great Race Executive Director Jeff Stumb he had read the promotional materials calling Fargo "the most exciting city in America," and he should know that "three-fourths of the most exciting city in America comes to Detroit Lakes every weekend."
Though Stumb laughed, the club ultimately convinced him and his fellow race planners to include a stop in Detroit Lakes — with a few stipulations.
"We had to provide a meal," he said. Though that meal is being provided exclusively to race participants and support staff — about 525 people in all — at no cost to them, the Rotarians decided to turn it into a community event, by bringing in about a half dozen food trucks and a classic car show of their own to precede the racers' arrival.
"We've had a lot of amazing help from the Lakes 412 Classic Car Club and the Midnight Cruisers," said Kalberer. "They're putting in a lot of volunteer work for this."
Prior to the racers' arrival at Peoples Park, members of both car clubs will be bringing their own vintage vehicles to the park for a little car show of their own, from noon to 2:30 p.m.
The racers will begin to arrive around 3:30 p.m., with cars coming in at approximately two-minute intervals until the last one rolls into town; all of the cars should be at the park by 7:30 p.m.
The cars will remain on display at Peoples Park while the participants and support staff enjoy their meal. Throughout the afternoon and evening, the public is welcome to view the local classic car show as well as the display of vehicles by race participants.
"There's going to be a lot of cool cars here," said Seelye.
To make it more fun, there will be a handful of food trucks on site as well.
"We'll have six food vendors there," said Kalberer, noting that they would be serving up food and beverages throughout the afternoon and evening.
Where you can watch the racers
Those who want to watch the racers arrive should note that they will be traveling west on Highway 10, then turning off on Jackson Avenue, continuing to travel south and west along Willow Street, Washington Avenue, West Lake Drive, Rossman Avenue and Forest Street before arriving at Peoples Park.
"There will be a blowup sign at the entrance into Peoples Park to welcome the racers," Seelye said, noting that there would also be an emcee on site doing interviews with local dignitaries and race sponsors.
About a dozen local businesses and organizations have provided sponsorship support in the form of services and financial contributions, he added.
Local sponsors include the City of Detroit Lakes, Chamber of Commerce, Daggett Truck Line, Foltz Trucking, Nereson Motors, Norseman Motors, R & G Subaru, Webber Family Motors, Culligan Water, Frito Lay, Central Market, Steve's Sanitation, Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary, Detroit Lakes Jaycees, Rotary Service Above Self Foundation, Lakes 412 Classic Car Club and the Midnight Cruisers.
More about The Great Race
The route for this year's Great Race, which runs June 18-26, was no accident.
“In the 39-year history of the Great Race, the event has made its way east and west and north and south through 46 of the 48 contiguous United States,” event director Jeff Stumb said. “In 2022, the Great Race will finally be able to add the last two states to the list — Rhode Island and North Dakota.”
The 9-day, 2,300-mile adventure will travel to 19 cities in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.
Teams and cars from Japan, England, Australia, Canada, and every corner of the United States, will converge in Rhode Island in mid-June with vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1916.
For more information, visit greatrace.com .