Up to 75 classic vehicles will be arriving in downtown Mount Airy this morning as part of a “ghost” tour by members of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA).
“We’ll have the right-hand side of the street blocked,” said Jessica Icenhour Roberts, tourism director of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.
This will be in effect along North Main Street downtown from about 10 a.m., when the cars are expected to arrive, until around 2:30 or 3 p.m., when the group departs.
While here, the auto club and accompanying family members will eat lunch and shop at downtown stores, visit Mount Airy Museum of Regional History and take a local ghost tour. They are scheduled to have dinner at The Depot at Cody Creek.
The vehicle owners will be available at various times of the day to field questions from the public about the unique autos on display.
Today will mark the first time that the Antique Automobile Club of America — specifically those with its North Carolina Region/Old Salem Chapter — comes to Mount Airy en masse.
“Some of their members had been here before,” Roberts said, and decided that the historic downtown and its lore would be an appropriate stop for the chapter’s “Ghost and Legends” Tour. It involves a series of day trips by AACA members hailing from the Winston-Salem/Kernersville/Greensboro area, which began Wednesday.
A permit obtained from the city government by the Downtown Business Association will limit today’s gathering to 75 vehicles, and anywhere from 50 to that maximum number are anticipated.
AACA rules require the classic autos of its members to be at least 25 years old.
While today’s visit by the car club will be providing a mini-boost to the local economy, Roberts said it is part of a growing trend of car clubs making Mount Airy a destination.
The city’s proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Winston-Salem is one of the reasons. Another involves a practice of auto enthusiasts to select rural areas for tours, especially during the fall foliage season.
“This time of year really brings a lot of these car groups,” the chamber tourism director said.
Roberts said that often, tourists who just happen to be members of a club will visit Mount Airy on a singular basis, and once seeing what is available here will bring in an entire group.
That was the case with the Antique Automobile Club of America, she said.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.