On a seasonable Saturday evening, more than 450 Corvettes streamed through the streets of downtown Carlisle for the 27th annual Chip Miller Memorial Corvette Parade, cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd lined up among the main thoroughfares of the borough.
The parade is produced by the Downtown Carlisle Association in partnership with Carlisle Events and sponsored by the Navy Federal Credit Union. The parade is a regular feature of Corvettes at Carlisle, the largest Corvette event in the world and held each year at the Carlisle Fairgrounds. This year’s multi-day event took place this past weekend.
By Thursday, 466 cars were registered for the parade, according to the DCA’s website, keeping in line with recent years’ figures.
“This is a great number and shows how interested these car enthusiasts are in downtown Carlisle and having a great time in our town,” said Glenn White, executive director of the DCA. “(Downtown) restaurants have a great night, some pulling in a whole weekend’s revenue in four hours.”
Hordes of spectators filled the streets of downtown Carlisle for the parade. Some eagerly stepped forward with cameras, while others simply craned their necks for a better view as passing drivers smiled and waved to the crowd. Passing cars bore license plates from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and many other states, as well as Pennsylvania.
A few cars even carried Canadian flags, while American flags on vehicles were flown in abundance.
This was the first time that Dennis Byers and son, Michael Byers, both of Newville, came to watch the parade. Michael Byers said they were there, in part, to support St. John’s Preschool, located directly behind where they were standing on North Hanover Street in St. John’s Episcopal Church. Michael Byers’ sons, Wyatt, 5, and Charlie, 3, played nearby in the preschool’s fenced yard while the facility conducted a sidewalk ice cream fundraiser.
“I think (my sons) are more excited about the ice cream than the cars,” Michael Byers laughed.
Joe Purdom, of Carlisle, said he liked the cars as well as the ice cream. He watched the parade from the town square with wife Carole, daughter, Jen, and son-in-law, Don, as well as his young grandchildren, Wyatt and Maggie. “I like watching all of the Corvettes and I see a lot of friends here,” he added.
Parade participants also said they liked meeting up with friends at each year’s event. This was the fifth year that James and Nancy Jo McCannon, of Bloomington, Minnesota, met up at the Carlisle parade with friends from Albany, New York. They also learned that their blue 2016 Corvette was selected as a 2017 Celebrity Choice Award Winner by Tim Delaney just before the parade started, they said.
This was the third year that “Super Dave” Mueller of Bel Air, Maryland, drove in the parade in the “beautiful town” of Carlisle. His 2010 yellow Corvette carries the license plate, “Yolo 1.” He first heard about the show from his friend, Joe, from Fallston, Maryland, he said.
Leo Plante traveled nine hours from his home in Augusta, Maine, to drive his 2002 yellow Corvette. He was there for his “fifth or sixth” time, he said, with brothers, Tony and Tom.
“We just love the cars, the Corvettes, the people here in Pennsylvania,” Plante said. “The event is well organized, and the people who set it up do a wonderful job.”