by Meredith Jaffe
Originally scheduled for July 23-25, 2020, the Grand Nationals were pushed back to August 21-22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To make logistics even more convoluted, the site was changed from the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage in Allentown to historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, just one month prior to the event.
Despite the challenges posed, the Grand Nationals held on the grounds of the Wyndham Gettysburg were first-rate. Measures were in place to keep members and spectators safe temperature checks, sanitizing stations, social distancing, and masks. Even the cars were parked further apart!
On Friday, cars invited for the Zenith Award were judged. These were essentially the best of the best from the prior year of meets. Julie and Joe Tonietto won with their stunning 1958 Buick estate wagon.
Most of the 484 vehicles registered drove onto the fields Saturday morning. It should be noted that all of those entered were Senior Award Winners so all were worthy contenders. By 10 AM, judges were hard at work under the blazing sun. Few deductions were made; there were a number of 400-point cars.
Connie Smith and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. While I was tasked with administrative judging duties during the day, Connie photographed the array of magnificent cars and interviewed their caretakers.
This event proved that, with competent planning, a successful meet during this unprecedented time is possible. Though formal activities were limited, the camaraderie of automotive enthusiasts was in full force. It has surely set the stage for the Eastern Fall Nationals in Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 9-10, 2020. Hope to see you there!