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A fan's guide to catching the Great Race this weekend in Fargo and Detroit Lakes

The vintage car rally makes a brief stop in Detroit Lakes on Saturday, before heading to Fargo, where the grand finale of the 2,300-mile will take place at the finish line on Broadway.

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Jerome Reinan, driving, and Chris Brungardt, cousins with Fargo ties, are greeted by crowds as they drive their 1918 American LaFrance during the 2016 Great Race. On Sunday, June 26, this year's Great Race drivers will cross the finish line in downtown Fargo.
Contributed by Jerome Reinan
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FARGO — Vintage car fans will have plenty of opportunities to take in the final miles and finish of the Great Race in downtown Fargo on Sunday, June 26.

Similarly, fans of four-wheeled beauty will be able to get an eyeful in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, on Saturday, June 25, with local car clubs showing off their highly burnished babies before the Great Race rolls into that town for an afternoon and early evening stop.

The weather should be a plus. Winds out of the northwest are expected to be brisk and gusty, but both days should be in the low- to mid-70s, dry with some sun peeking through the clouds - and not nearly as hot or soggy - as Friday.

On Sunday, Fargo spectators can expect to start seeing the cars in the Great Race arrive at the corner of 19th Avenue North and North University Drive about 12:45 p.m. The course will then wind south through the northside and into downtown, said Stephonie Broughton, a spokeswoman for the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau. Racers will drive south on North University to 12th Avenue North, then east to Broadway. They will head south on Broadway to Seventh Avenue North, then jog east again to Fourth Street North. They then continue south to First Avenue North, before turning west until they hit Broadway again. At that point, the racers turn north, crossing the finish line at Broadway Square at Second Avenue North. The first cars should do that between 1 and 1:15 p.m., local officials say. The last cars should cross the finish line about 3 p.m., with an award ceremony planned for 4 p.m.

A big chunk of Broadway will be blocked off to traffic and parking - except for the racers - for much of Sunday, Broughton said Thursday, June 23.

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There will be no parking on Broadway, from First Avenue North, north to the railroad tracks (just past Fifth Avenue North) from 5 a.m to 5 p.m. That stretch of Broadway will be closed by 6 a.m. to all traffic but the racers, said Broughton.

The finish line is being sponsored by Fargo’s OK Tire and Service store.

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“It’s a pretty unique opportunity,” OK Tire spokesman Sam Grantham said Thursday.

“We’re super excited to be involved,” Grantham said. “There’s going to be a lot of cool, classic cars.”

Grantham said Great Race officials hope they'll tap into the same sort of excitement North Dakota State University football fans generated for the College GameDay events in Fargo.

“Last year, they had 7,000 people down in (Greenville) South Carolina at the finish line. Hopefully we get a nice crowd down at the finish line,” Grantham said.

Saturday’s stop in Detroit Lakes was originally billed as an overnight, but that won’t be, according to Tom Seelye, a Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary Club official helping to coordinate the Great Race stop.

Seelye said the racers will start arriving in Detroit Lakes about 3:55 p.m., then head down Washington Avenue to West Lake Drive. The racers will then turn into Peoples Park, behind Zorbaz on the Lake, at 402 W. Lake Drive. There, they will display their vehicles for about three hours.

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A beer garden and food trucks are planned. Spectators can park at the nearby ice arena.

The racers begin heading out of town toward Fargo about 7:30 p.m., Seelya said Thursday.

The Great Race machines won’t be the only ones on display in DL Saturday.

The Midnight Cruisers and Lakes 412 classic car clubs will both display vehicles from noon to 2:30 p.m. in Peoples Park.

“I think we’ve put together a really exciting day of looking at some beautiful cars,” Seelye said.

John Wheeler, chief meteorologist at WDAY-TV, said Thursday that a cold front was expected to move through the region Friday evening into Friday night, bringing thunderstorms.

After the rain moves through, Saturday and Sunday will be cool and windy, with highs in the low- to mid-70s. Humidity will be low, and the air comfortable, Wheeler said.

Winds will be out of the northwest at 15-25 mph and gusty.

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About 140 vintage automobiles started the 2022 Hemmings Motor News Great Race on Saturday, June 18, in Warwick, Rhode, Island.

The race is presented by Hagerty Drivers Club. The route winds through 2,300 miles of the northern tier of the U.S.

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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