(Editor’s note: A decision to postpone the Southeastern Autorama came after the press deadline for The Erwin Record. This article has been revised to include the rescheduled date, which has been pushed from Oct. 16 to Oct. 23 due to a forecast of rain this weekend.)
By Richard Rourk
Classic cars and hot rods will line the streets of downtown Erwin on Saturday, Oct.23, when the Southeastern Autorama revs its engines for another of its annual shows.
Southeastern Autorama President Joey Bailey said the event is the oldest continually running car show in Tennessee since 1960. This year also marks the 61st anniversary of the Erwin car show.
“We really benefited last year by delaying the show until October,” Bailey said. The event was moved into fall as a precaution against spiking numbers of COVID-19 cases in the summer of 2020.
“People were ready to get out and about, and our show benefited greatly,” Bailey said.
Last year Bailey and the Southeastern Autorama had more than 250 vehicles of all makes and models sign up for the event. He said even more are expected this year.
“The October weather was wonderful, and we’re looking for a repeat,” he said. “As for COVID-19, we just encourage everyone to be smart. Take whatever precautions you feel are necessary for you and your family to be safe. Whether it’s wearing a mask, social distancing or wearing gloves, we want you to feel safe.”
The 61st Southeastern Autorama should have something for everyone.
“This year we are having our usual top 25 awards along with specialty awards and of course Best of Show, which will be featured on next year’s event T-shirt,” Bailey said.
“We are also having a People’s Choice Award, so stop by the registration tent and pick up a ticket to cast your vote,” Bailey said.
“We are moving our registration tent to the corner of Main and Gay for easier access for car owners,” he added. “There will be plenty of food on-site and a couple of local downtown eateries will be serving breakfast. We will also be having a 50/50 drawing to benefit our scholarship fund.”
This year’s event will also feature a special tie-in with the Unicoi County Relay for Life. The Garden of Hope, courtesy of the Unicoi County Relay for Life, will be set up at the Unicoi County Courthouse. Luminary bags will be arranged along with the blooming mums during the night of the 61st Annual Southeastern Autorama. The cost for a bag and mum is a $20 donation. Details on how to order the mums are available on the Relay for Life of Unicoi County’s Facebook page.
Bailey and company will be welcoming vehicles as early as 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23.
“We officially open at 8 a.m. and encourage everyone to bring their car or truck down Main Street from the north end,” Bailey said. “Someone will greet you and direct you to a parking spot, then you will walk over to the registration tent and fill out a registration form and you’re all set.”