BARDSTOWN, Ky. — The world's largest and most famous luxury car road rally made a stop along its 3,000-mile route in a Kentucky city Monday.
The 22nd Annual Gumball 3000 Rally stopped in downtown Bardstown on Monday, May 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"The Gumball 3000 is a bucket list event for celebrities, influencers and billionaires alike to drive in this once in a lifetime adventure," a press release said.
Samantha Brady, executive director of Bardstown Tourism, said the city was chosen for its small town charm and accolades, such as The Bourbon Capital of the World and the "Most Beautiful Small Town in America" designation.
“People have shifted where they want to go and they want to be in small town America," Brady said. “They typically don’t stop in small town American but they decided to this time. They fell in love with Bardstown.”
Brady said because this was a first-time event for the city, they weren't sure what the economic impact would be. She anticipated several thousand people would be coming to Bardstown to see the rally.
“All the other attractions and restaurants and stores, they’re all going to benefit from this," she said.
Since it was Memorial Day, Brady said many shops decided to stay open for guests, rather than close for the holiday.
That was the case at Mad Hatter Cafe, which just opened its doors for the first time a few months ago.
“It’s exciting and your heart gets to racing and it’s nice to see the smiles on everybody’s face," owner Jessica O'Bryan said. “Bourbon draws a crowd but this has drawn a bigger one.”
O'Bryan said the event likely more than doubled her normal Monday sales, and the cafe was bustling Monday with visitors escaping the heat.
Joshua Hoff, owner of Bourbon City Taxi, picked Monday to open his business' new storefront and arcade. Taxi customers can play games while waiting on rides.
Hoff said since launching the business in the fall, bourbon tourism and events like the Gumball 3000 have kept him busy.
“This has been a long time coming, I think Bardstown has been overlooked for a long time," he said. “I think it’s going to turn into a smaller Louisville. We’re creating more jobs, there’s going to be more companies coming here.”
Tourists and locals alike had the chance to see dozens of luxury cars as the Gumball 3000 drove through town. The event also brought in several celebrities who Brady said rented out restaurants and visited local businesses.
This year, between 100 and 150 supercars will make the 3,000-mile trek from Toronto, Canada to Miami, Florida in seven days. The rally hosts public and private events in each city it passes through along the route.