“The feeling you get when you pull into a town with a population of 10,000 people, and you see around 9,000 of them lined down the road waving American flags...there’s nothing like it,” said Crowley City Attorney Tom Reagan, a veteran participant in the event.
In fact, the event sounds as though it will be a large car show, a street party (complete with live music, Cajun dishes and other refreshments) and, not to mention, the actual race itself all rolled into one. It will also serve as a fundraiser to support people affected by Autism.
The race is an automotive competition based on precision driving and navigational skills in classic, antique and vintage automobiles. The events are timed, controlled-speed, endurance rallies—not top-speed races. Each vehicle must follow a prescribed common route while attempting to maintain assigned average speeds.
And this year it will be passing through Crowley on June 29.
“This could be a once in a lifetime event for the city of Crowley,” said Hank Capel, a member of The Great Race Committee.
This fact has not been lost on Crowley city officials and local businessmen.
Crowley Tourism Director Charlotte Jeffers has had her hands full with promoting, arranging parking (for what is certain to be a large crowd) and several other aspects of what looks to be a fun-filled (and possibly very hot) summer day in the Rice Capital.
“We will definitely be very wet when we pull into town,” said Richard Fredette, another veteran racer. “Whether it is caused by rain or sweat remains to be seen.”
The downtown area will be blocked off by the Crowley Police Department beginning at approximately 8 a.m. that morning and the event is expected to last from 10 a.m. until around 3 p.m. The racers will be pulling into Crowley to streets lined with people waving their flags at approximately 11:30 a.m. All of the aforementioned times, however, are tentative as the committee begins to work more frequently with The Great Race officials as the event approaches.
Among the subjects discussed at Wednesday’s meeting were:
- The placement of a banners and posters of The Great Race around Crowley.
- The possibility of selling beer at the event. According to Regan, for this to take place the committee needs “to act fast because Greg (Crowley Mayor Greg Jones) would have to begin the process of getting a license.”
- Making arrangements to feed approximately 300 people including Great Race participants, crews, staff members and local volunteers. Public citizens who attend the event will be able to choose from one of the many vendors that will be located in the event’s two-block area from Third Street to the Crowley Court Circle.
- Recruiting volunteers. Jeffers has plans to approach the Rotary Club of Crowley, the Crowley Lions Club, the Crowley Kiwanis Club, the Crowley Garden Club, Crowley Professional Women, Crowley Royalty (Rice Queen, Miss Crowley, Jr. Miss Crowley, etc.) as well as students from Crowley High School, Notre Dame High School and Northside Christian High School who are looking to gain service hours.
Performing at the Great Race’s stop will be Crowley’s own Get Back Band as well as The Cajun Trio.
“We definitely want the racers to leave having experienced some of our Cajun culture,” said Jeffers.
The race will begin in St. Paul, Minn. on June 22 and will finish in Mobile, Ala. on June 30.