FLORENCE, S.C. – The 15th annual Darlington Car Hauler Parade presented by Raldex turns left into the Florence Center Aug. 29 preceding Darlington Raceway’s Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 Aug. 31 and the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Sept. 1.
That Thursday at 7 p.m., the haulers pull out of Florence Center on a slow-roll journey to Darlington in front of throngs of fans at every corner.
The festivities at the Florence Center will start at 4 p.m.
Joey Gase, full-time driver of the No. 35 Toyota Supra for MBM Motorsports, is grand marshal for the parade and also will appear on the RaceFest stage at 5:30pm for Q&A with emcee Dan E. Lockemy. Earlier the same day from 12-3 p.m. Gase will sign autographs on Customer Appreciation Day at Agri Supply in Florence, an event that will include his racecar and a ticket raffle for the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200.
Also at RaceFest will be NASCAR legend Donnie Allison, who will again sign autographs and/or copies of his book “As I Recall." Allison was part of the "Alabama Gang” and inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.
“The Darlington Car Hauler Parade and Festival hits a milestone this year with its 15th year,” said Holly Beaumier, Executive Director of the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s really become something people mark on their calendars every year, as it represents a unique and engaging way for families and the community to interact with NASCAR -- for free.”
The NASCAR-themed RaceFest is loaded with other live entertainment, including:
- Emcees Dan E. Lockemy and Jai Jai Spann
- The KidsZone with inflatables and games---and this year it’s inside with air conditioning
- The 8-lane die-cast timed racetrack from Wade Entertainment Inc., which features computer scoring, a 46-inch LED display, and cars representing the sport's favorite drivers
- Food and drinks plus ice cream and sweets, including Kona Ice of Florence and Andy Ard’s Ice Cream
- A Snapster photo booth for keepsake photos or just capturing you at your goofiest Airbrush tattoos where you can get a semi-permanent logo of the Track Too Tough to Tame or other (available) NASCAR-related image
- Kids’ activity and craft tables inside the Florence Center
- Balloon artists the kids will love as animals take shape
- An exciting silent auction loaded with great NASCAR memorabilia (with proceeds benefitting local charities)
- A banner painting station (for displaying banners along the Car Hauler Parade route!)
"We jumped at the chance to again sponsor this year's parade," said Chad Patterson, Vice President of Raldex Hospitality. "Our chief focus remains on surpassing the expectations of guests at our hotel properties, but we also continue to support family-friendly events such as the Darlington Car Hauler Parade that enriches the Florence community and the Pee Dee.”
This is Agri Supply’s first year sponsoring the Florence Racefest activities, which starts at 4 p.m. at the Florence Center with NASCAR transports and their drivers, which provides fans opportunities to take pics and get autographs amid a carnival-like collection of fun activities.
In Darlington, the Car Hauler Parade will again go through Darlington Square where they will have their own RaceFest with entertainment, food, a car show and more.
The haulers will continue through Darlington until they reach the track “Too Tough to Tame” to park, unload and begin preparation for the Bojangles’ Southern 500.