HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Organizers are hoping thousands of people will come to the Atlantic City Race Course this Fourth of July weekend to eat, drink, listen to music and celebrate more than a century of serious American iron.
Ben Petrovic, lead organizer of the 2013 Celebration of Heritage show, said it will commemorate a host of American motor companies’ 110th anniversaries. These include Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Ford Motor Co. and the General Motors’ Buick marque.
This year is also the 110th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ inaugural flight and the 60th anniversary of Chevrolet Corvettes.
“There are just so many things out there,” Petrovic said. “I thought it was good to put something together to celebrate them all.”
Maureen Bugdon, president of the Atlantic City Race Course, described the heritage celebration by saying, “It’s not that this event has moved — it’s moved, it’s morphed and it’s larger.”
Admission is $20 and doors are scheduled to open at 10 a.m. Saturday.
For Petrovic, owner of Atlantic County Harley-Davidson, the event is an outgrowth of the company’s annual hot rod shows that attract hundreds of people to the Galloway Township dealership.
Petrovic described himself as “a big car nut,” saying there would be a “huge display of antique cars,” with several hundred motorcycles and automobiles on display.
Among them would be replicas of famous television cars, including the Batmobile from the mid-’60s Batman series and the General Lee from the 1980s series “The Dukes of Hazard.”
The Batmobile, he said, was a faithfully made local replica that “even fires up and has flames coming out of the tailpipe.”
He said a host of car customizers will be on hand.
Also scheduled is Terry Hart, an American astronaut who went into space on the Challenger shuttle in April 1985 as a mission specialist, working with the remote arm to help corral a wayward satellite.
“How often do you get to meet an astronaut and ask him about going into space?” Petrovic said. “I think all of us kids are going to look forward to asking him some questions.”
He said township officials were helpful, saying, “They loved my idea. They welcomed us with open arms.”
Deputy Mayor Roger Silva said the township appreciated that organizers are allowing volunteer firefighters to hold a raffle there.
He expected the township would easily accommodate the event, saying it seemed well-organized and “it will not be a strain on the township at all.”
“I can tell you they have been working very closely with Hamilton Township police and the governing body” and others, Bugdon said, “in order to pull off what we hope is a first-class event.”
Silva noted that the event is taking place the week after the township held its 200th anniversary celebration, allowing residents to see fireworks twice in two weeks. “That is a nice, spectacular thing,” he said.
Petrovic said he expects between 2,500 and 5,000 people for the event.
Contact Derek Harper:
Follow @dnharper on Twitter