Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Corvette fans celebrate sports car's 50th

'Happy Birthday' sung at party at Ky. museum

The Associated Press

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Corvette fans sang "Happy Birthday" to the sleek sports car Monday as the automobile celebrated its 50th anniversary with a cake.

Rick Hancock of Newark, Ohio, was one of thousands who sang to the car at the National Corvette Museum in western Kentucky.

"I couldn't have missed it for anything," Hancock said.

He had planned to buy a 2003 yellow Corvette - until he saw the 50th Anniversary edition. "That's when I decided to get my 50th. No model will get close to the Corvette's 50th anniversary," he said.

The celebration began last week with events at the museum in Bowling Green, Ky., and in Nashville, Tenn., about 60 miles away. Through those events, $85,000 was raised to help the museum launch its campaign to expand its building, according to Larry Hayes, fund-raising director for the museum.

In an amphitheater behind the museum Sunday night, several hundred Corvette fans rocked on at the 50th Anniversary Block Party, also dubbed "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Corvettes."

Bruce and Marilyn Phipps of Telford, Pa., sat at the top of the amphitheater. The couple has shuttled between events in Bowling Green and Nashville since Thursday. Marilyn Phipps said they enjoyed browsing the vendor booths.

"It's always good to come to these events," Bruce Phipps said. "We see friends from all over the country."

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