Bridgton tabbed as Glidden AAA Revival auto tour stop

NW auto tour copyBridgton is on the 71st Glidden AAA Revival Tour this September.

The town of Bridgton is pleased to announce that the 2016 AAA Glidden Auto Tour will be stopping for morning coffee in Bridgton on Thursday, Sept. 15. They will be utilizing the Depot Street parking lot, as well as Depot Street. The tour will also include a visit with Stevens Brook Elementary School students.

Cars will be in the area from around 8 to 10 a.m.

Over 400 registrants will be participating in this tour along with almost 200 antique cars (pre-1943 specifically). The tour is based in North Conway for a weeklong visit of the area, Sept. 11-16. This tour is rich with history, as the oldest, largest and most prestigious antique car event in the country, as noted by the Tour’s chairman, Barbara Fox. As she notes in the tour’s website, hundreds of owners will be arriving from all over the country for a full week of fun that requires driving their rare, pre-1943 cars over hundreds of miles of road. This will be the first time since 1998 that the tour has been to New England. Participants will be here from 33 states in the United States, and from Canada.

Please note, traffic may be diverted and delayed during the morning hours to accommodate the cars as they arrive around from Denmark, down South High Street, down Main Street and into Depot Street’s parking lot and along the street. They will leave through the Stevens Brook School, out to Portland Road, down Main Street and up North High Street and taking Route 93 to their next destination.

Morning coffee and snacks will be provided by Towanda’s and Beth’s Café. The Bridgton-Lakes Region Rotary Club will be on hand to help and welcome the tour participants. The Bridgton Community Center is opening its doors to accommodate the group. Residents are encouraged to come and see these cars on Depot Street!

“If you live along the route the cars traverse, come outside and wave, clang pots and pans, or blow the horns! Let’s give a hearty welcome to the participants for their visit to our wonderful town!” said Anne Krieg, AICP, Bridgton’s Planning and Development director.

The first AAA Reliability Tour took place in New England in 1904. The following year, under the direction of telecommunication millionaire, Charles Glidden, the tour returned to New Hampshire with a purpose: to test the reliability and endurance of the American auto manufacturers and encourage them to compete with the growing popularity of European-made models.

After the 1913 tour, it was felt their purposes had been fulfilled, and the activity ended. American-made cars had proven their reliability and ended European prestige by winning every tour. Good roads were now being built. Fair motoring laws were being enacted. And best of all, there was now one car for every 35 persons in the country as compared to one car for every 1,000 persons when the tours began.

In 1946, The Veteran Motor Car Club of America, under the presidency of opera and TV star, James Melton, decided to relaunch the tour as the Glidden AAA Revival Tour to recreate the purposes and tradition of the early AAA events.

In 1947, the tour came back to… where else, but New Hampshire. It has been held every year since with the ongoing support of AAA and later with the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) as a partner.

The 2016 tour will be a hub tour hosted at the North Conway Grand Hotel, in North Conway. During the week, these early cars will be driven along predetermined, often hilly, routes as the pioneers before them did, but they will stop for coffee breaks, lunches, attractions, and of course, shopping. They will share their love and their knowledge with audiences from children to seniors at rural places: Center Harbor, Wolfeboro, Bretton Woods, the Kangamangus Highway, Lincoln, Mt. Washington Auto Route and more. In addition, on two days, they will visit western Maine; Bridgton, Paris Hill, Newfield, and Parsonsfield.

The schedule is as follows:

Saturday/Sunday: Registration and safety check

Monday: Lakes Region tour

Tuesday: 19th Century Maine, Porter, Parsonsfield Covered Bridge, Willowbrook, Cornish

Wednesday: Heart of the White Mountains

Thursday: Maine Lakes, County Fair Day

Friday: A White Mountains Farewell, North Conway Scenic Railway.

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