• Laurel Contributor

The Festival with Altitude

by Mary Jane McCall

Once upon a time in a charming little town sitting at an ideally cool elevation of 4118 feet, several car aficionados dreamed of a car show that would be as unique as their town.

Flash forward 12 years and The Highlands Motoring Festival has become one of the Southeast’s premier auto events. This four-day, event held this year June 6 through 9, will draw more than 125 entrants and be attended by more than 2500 people on show day, Saturday, June 8.

Known as the Festival with Altitude, there is no denying that our picturesque location is one of the reasons the festival has grown and is so enjoyed. Within a several block radius, you have everything you need for a perfect weekend − Cars in the Park at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park, while nearby restaurants, bars, shopping and accommodations offer everything you need for the perfect weekend. Park once and enjoy all the fun.

This Festival is powered solely by local volunteers who work year-round to make sure that each show is unique. This year, attendees will enjoy an eclectic field of classic cars, many one of a kind. All pre-1990 cars are eligible for entry and are placed in one of nine judged classes.

This year’s featured marque is “The Cars of Carroll Shelby 1964-67.” More than 20 invited cars, representing every year and model, will tell the story. Featured will be a corral full of Shelbys. For more than 50 years, the Mustang has enjoyed a performance image forged by the Mustangs that Carroll Shelby produced in his factory in California from 1964 to 1967.

Cobra fans will enjoy seeing an array of Cobras, including a 1964 USRRC Competitive Cobra, a 1965 289 Cobra and a 427 Cobra, among others. These and many other classics are not to be missed.

Chuck Cantwell will be on hand signing his book, “The Shelby Mustang Story,” and sharing stories about Shelby American. Cantwell was hired by Shelby as Project Manager on the Mustang program and was there working closely with such greats as Ken Miles, Peter Brock, and Phil Remington.

Dennis Gage will be filming an episode of his TV show, “My Classic Car,” at this year’s festival.

Admission is free, but donations are encouraged and will benefit local nonprofits that give so much back to our community: REACH of Macon County, Literacy Council of Highlands, and Community Care Clinic.

For more information on this year’s events, visit highlandsmotoringfestival.com.

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