(Oct. 4, 2019) The 33rd annual Free State Corvette Club Weekend kicks off today, Friday, at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel on 101st Street and in the inlet parking lot.
Over 850 registered Corvettes, vintage and new, are expected to be seen throughout the resort as well as the inlet, today and Saturday.
“A Corvette enthusiast likes to do anything related to Corvette,” Craig Steinbock, president of the Free State Corvette Club, said. “There will probably be close to 800 beautiful Corvettes representing every generation and every year since they started the Corvette in ’53.”
This year’s Corvette Weekend is taking place earlier than usual as a result of the Town of Ocean City moving it two weeks forward for the next two years. Despite this, Steinbock believes it will still be a great weekend filled with Corvette enthusiasts.
Tonight, a welcome dance party will take place in the Clarion Crystal Ballroom with live music from Mike Hines and The Look and a cash bar from 7-11 p.m. The event will include door prizes and raffles.
An all-you-can-eat buffet is available from 7-9 p.m. at an additional cost, though participants must sign up for the dinner in advance during registration.
Corvette Weekend continues in the inlet parking lot Saturday morning, where hundreds of cars can register and be on display.
In addition, a number of vendors will be selling items, three car shows will take place and four car rallyes will be going on simultaneously before an afternoon Corvette Boardwalk parade launches at 4 p.m.
The competitive car shows begin at 7:30 a.m., when Corvette owners will prepare their cars to be judged in three competitions.
Participants can vote for their favorite cars in all classes, including their own, in the Fun Show. Children represented by Spina Bifida Association of Maryland will select a favorite Corvette in the second show and a representative from the Free State Corvette Club will select Governor’s Choice award winners.
At 9:45 a.m., four rallyes will launch from the inlet simultaneously Saturday, taking drivers and their navigators on a scavenger hunt journey while collecting poker run cards and scrabble titles for various contests. The rallyes are limited to 150 registered Corvettes.
“It’s basically a scavenger hunt with Scrabble … you get tiles at each stop, and whoever spells the word with the most points, with the scrabble tiles, wins that award,” Steinbock said.
Participants are encouraged to drive safely during the event.
“Their licenses are placed into a padded envelope and sealed,” Steinbock said. “If they come back and that seal has been opened, they’re disqualified, because they were probably pulled over and had to give their license. They’ve got to abide by all Maryland rules of navigation and traffic laws.”
Participants can register for poker, scrabble or gimmick portions separately or concurrently, he said.
The highlight of Corvette Weekend is a parade with about 600 vehicles traveling north up the Boardwalk from the inlet starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
An awards presentation and wrap-up party will be held Saturday evening at the Clarion for the car shows and rallyes. An awards presentation will take place at 8 p.m.
Another all-you-can-eat dinner will be served for an additional fee with a cash bar before the awards ceremony. Diners must sign up for the buffet in advance during registration.
Corvette Weekend benefits several charities, including the Spina Bifida Association of Maryland, USO, Bennet Institute Booster Club, Heroes of the Water and Gilchrist.
Over the last 32 years, the Ocean City show has helped organizers donate more than $1 million to local nonprofits. Over the years, the club has raised over $600,000 for its main sponsor, the Spina Bifida Association of Maryland.
“Spina Bifida gets 60 percent of our proceeds,” Steinbock said. “We’ve given [them] well over $600,000 since we started this.”
In 2018, more than 800 Corvettes were registered and organizers estimate 2,000 Corvettes overall were in the resort for the weekend.
“I just want to thank everybody who continues to support us year after year,” Steinbock said. “Without the folks that come down and support us, we wouldn’t have this event going on strong 33 years.”
Those who have not pre-registered for Corvette Weekend can visit the late registration table in the Clarion today from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. to sign up for the parade, shows and rallyes. Registration costs $40 per person.
Participants do not need to be members of the Free State Corvette Club or another club to take part in Corvette Weekend.
For more information and costs, visit www.corvetteweekend.com.