The Circle City Corvette Club held its annual Circle City Corvette Club Beach Caravan 2021 from Dothan, Alabama, to Panama City. The weekend features a car show, seminars, a Corvette memorabilia auction, and special guests from the Corvette world.
By Michelle Bryan – Circle City Corvette Club Secretary; Photos Charley Robertson
The Circle City Corvette Club in Dothan, Alabama, holds its annual Circle City Corvette Club Beach Caravan 2021 to Panama City Beach, Florida typically, in May each year for all the participants to enjoy the beautiful summer days. However, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, they had to cancel their event in 2020, which made this Caravan extra special on October 28-30, 2021.
Registration for this year’s event was held on October 28, 2021, at Solomon Chevrolet in Dothan, Alabama, where several Corvettes were displayed in front of the dealership. Club members prepared goody bags in advance to hand out to all those registered for the Caravan.
These goody bags included items such as pens, sticky notes, etc. As individuals registered for the event, a personalized event lanyard with their name and a t-shirt were added. During registration, the National Corvette Museum Store was set up, with all sorts of merchandise for sale.
Once registration ended that evening, all registered participants met at the Sterling Event Center for food, fun, and fellowship. A wonderful meal was provided courtesy of and catered by the Sterling Event Center, with the option of chicken or ham as the meat, along with all the trimmings. Following the meal, the Club President held a Corvette trivia game with the winner picking out their chosen prize.
On October 29, 2021, everyone gathered at the National Peanut Festival fairgrounds for the Caravan at 9 a.m. Registration and goody bags continued for an hour to allow anyone who could not register the day before the opportunity to still attend the Caravan.
Woof FM, 99.7 interviewed John Hickman, the Circle City Beach Coordinator, and WDHN-TV snapped photos of all the Corvettes in attendance for their coverage of the Caravan. The Caravan was then led out by Jim and Charley Robertson and the Woof FM van at 10:00 a.m. with the Houston County Sheriff’s Department blocking traffic and escorting the Caravan of Corvettes from the fairgrounds to the Florida state line.
The Caravan consisting of nearly 50 Corvettes made the one hour and forty-five-minute ride together; arriving at Pier Park, where many groups spent the afternoon enjoying lunch and shopping at the multitude of restaurants and shoppes the park has to offer before heading back to the Edgewater Beach Resort that was hosting the event.
That evening all gathered at Dee’s Hangout, a restaurant within walking distance from the resort, for another enjoyable meal. Then, as meals were being delivered to tables, the new CEO of the National Corvette Club Museum, Sharon Brawner, spoke.
Sharon Brawner expressed how appreciative she was that the Circle City Corvette Club extended an invitation to her for her first-ever Corvette Caravan and that she was looking forward to the events the next day.
She also took the time to thank all that came to be a part of the Caravan weekend. Then, as the sun was setting outside, inside the restaurant, all the guests were greeted by friends and made new ones, building bonds for Corvette owners that will be cherished forever.
On Saturday morning at the Edgewater Beach Resort, registration was underway for all the Corvettes participating in the car show. This car show is for non-members only so that the Circle City Corvette Club can present the winners with plaques.
While the car show was happening outside, inside the resort’s lobby, the National Corvette Museum Store was set up with all types of merchandise for purchase. In the ballroom on display were two corvettes, a 2021 C8 Stingray owned by Rick Early, and a 1960 convertible owned by Dr. Terry Day, who are members of the Circle City Corvette Club. Following the car show, two seminars were held for those who wished to attend.
The first speaker was Kirk Bennion, Corvette Exterior Design Manager of the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He spoke about the new Z06 Corvette’s price, volume, and performance. Also discussed were the 2023 model Z06 key innovations and features and the engine being the heart of the Z06 model. Kirk also took opinions and wishes from the group for future Corvette designs.
With the wishes of Kelly Walker, Vice President of Circle City Corvette Club, Kirk created the “Kelly Walker Corvette;” by designing a simulated mockup on the screen based solely on her ideas. By doing so, Kirk demonstrated the camaraderie and friendship between Corvette owners and plant managers.
Damian Zink, Corvette Assembly Plant Quality Assurance Manager, presented the second seminar. Damian provided information on the process of paint design for the Corvette. He explained how the Bowling Green Assembly Plant conducts daily crater testing. This type of testing detects potential contaminants that could be found on any personal hygiene products and makes certain that if in contact with the paint, it would not cause any damage.
Mr. Zink also enlightened the group on how the plant employees wear suits, hats, and/or hair nets to protect the paint from dirt or lint that may be on their clothing while working. Upon conclusion of the seminars, the Silent Auction (that was taking place in the background) was closed; the winners of the items were announced, and the money collected was donated to the National Corvette Museum.
On Saturday night, all gathered for dinner and a Live Auction, and since the following day was Halloween, all participants were encouraged to dress in costume. The night began with dinner, and the new CEO, Sharon Brawner, spoke. Sharon gave an extremely thorough testimony on her journey to becoming the new CEO of the National Corvette Museum.
She shared numerous ideas she intends to bring to the Museum with the group. Sharon also joked with the group that this was not her normal day-to-day attire, as she was dressed as a nurse.
Following Sharon’s speech, the Live Auction began with Steve Grille, Kelly Walker, and Jim Robertson presenting. Numerous auction items were up for bid, from signed artwork and posters to an Antonio Garcia firesuit. Lucy Grille, Eddie Brawner, Jaren Webb, and Charley Robertson displayed the items. The highest bid item of the night was won by Jonese Sloan and was a Mobil 1 Triple Championship trophy signed, celebrating the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Championships which also included some oil droplets from each car that won.
The Auction is always a fun event and raises money for the National Corvette Museum and this year The Circle City Corvette Club is pleased to announce that they raised over $10,000.00 for the Museum and over $4000.00, which will be donated to local charities.
This Caravan demonstrates the love for the Corvette and the friendships developed among Corvette owners. If you would like to be a part of the next great Caravan event, then mark your calendar for May 20-22, 2022, to join Corvette enthusiasts on a 3-day beach caravan. The Circle City Corvette Club looks forward to building new friendships and memories with you!
Photo Gallery of the Circle City Corvette Club Beach Caravan 2021 to Panama City Beach
Are you looking for a Corvette club near you? Check out our Corvette Club Directory and start having some fun:
Perhaps you are looking for a Corvette event this weekend…Vette Vues Corvette’s event calendar has lots of Corvette shows, Corvette corrals, Corvette caravans, Corvette racing schedules, auctions, and upcoming Corvette events. Check it out!
Is your club having an event? Recognizing the vital role club plays in our hobby, Vette Vues Magazine is here to help. Check out our Resource Center:
If you have never seen Vette Vues Magazine check out our Issue Preview and see what our subscribers are enjoying each month.
Vette Vues Magazine is jammed packed with Corvette information covering C1 to C8. Each monthly issue has features, reviews, tips, restorations, clubs, events, racing, auction results, model cars, classifieds, products, services, and more. Enjoy the latest Corvette news, as well as some great historical facts.