With tourism being the business of the Smoky Mountains region, you could make a case for classic cars being the area’s hobby. Each year during the spring and fall, Pigeon Forge and the neighboring towns of Gatlinburg and Sevierville welcome thousands of car enthusiasts in for the Grand Spring and Fall Rod Runs. Since its inception, it’s become a gathering of metal and chrome not seen since Detroit’s hey-day during the early part of the 20th century.
On one street corner you’ve got shiny, chromed-up, vintage models like the classic ’56 & ’57 Chevys, while right down the road you might see someone trying to sell their unique fixer-upper that just needs a few of those oh so hard-to-find parts. Whether you’re there to fawn over that ride from your childhood, or finally lay down the green on that supped up ’70 GTO, there will be cars to drool over and cars to purchase. This is one of the largest gearhead gathering in the southeast, and it only happens twice a year. With so much metal and chrome, as well as brand name vendors from across the country in attendance, this is the car show to end all cars shows.
Traffic light No. 3 in Pigeon Forge is where the party starts. The endless line of cars runs almost all the way down the Parkway, while other cars are parked in every available parking space facing the road. To get you warmed up for the infusion of metal brought about by the Grand Fall Rod Run, the Shades of the Past car show gets the area started with its own chromed out festival the weekend prior.
Here, its cars as far as the eye can see. The thing to do is just park your car and walk either side of the Parkway. Cars of every make, model, and finish, especially cherry, vintage, American steel: a ’70 Chevelle Super Sport parked next to an Austin Healy; a ’68 Impala parked next to a ’38 Studebaker Bus. It’s an outdoor museum spread out along the Parkway.
Most of the car owners will be sitting near their rides – that’s one of the great things about the Rod Run, there’s no lack of car knowledge here. Everyone loves talking cars, especially if it’s their own. The owners will tell you everything from where they got it, any upgrades, and plenty of good stories. I’m sure you remember you’re first car, where you were, who you were with. And if they’ve not already been there a week, owners and their cars will start rolling in on Tuesday and Wednesday. By Friday the Parkway is literally roaring.
The spring and fall Grand Rod Runs bring in auto vendors from all over the country. Whether it’s just a vendor booth, a sponsor booth, or a demonstration, if you’re looking for stuff for your classic or muscle car this is the place. If you’re more into the mechanics of the automobile, you’ll see people representing Camaro Central to ET Motorgear, and Hunter’s Custom Automotive to Ausley’s Chevelle. These guys know how to keep a car running and have spent years doing it. They also know a thing or two about restoration. Ask them whatever you want; it’s why they’re there. Just be sure to head back over to the Parkway that night.
Each night, the constant parade of cars is palpable as owners fire up their engines and cruise the strip. Those same cars you admired that afternoon will be rumbling up and down the streets of Pigeon Forge to see whose is the loudest. It’s a mixture of steel, chrome and glass reflecting through the night. For some it’s a journey back in time. Each year, Pigeon Forge’s Grand Rod Runs let you relive it time and again.
Past Grand Rod Run Info:
30 Days Before Event = $30
Within 30 Days of Event = $40
Outside Space (9×16) = $135
Inside Space (10×10) = $155
Sales Corral = $75
For more information about any of the Grand Rod Runs, contact:
Monday-Friday 8am – 4pm EST