Harrison County

Exotic cars are coming en masse and you can see them for free

Two Ferraris were on display outside Gulfport City Hall on Tuesday to announce Gulfport Octane, a free public display of exotic cars on Nov. 4.
Two Ferraris were on display outside Gulfport City Hall on Tuesday to announce Gulfport Octane, a free public display of exotic cars on Nov. 4. rfitzgerald@sunherald.com

A yellow Ferrari and a charcoal gray Ferrari were parked outside Gulfport City Hall on Tuesday as a sign of things to come.

Downtown Gulfport will be the stage for 75 to 100 exotic cars for a free public display on Nov. 4.

Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania announced plans for Gulfport Octane at a news conference Tuesday in front of City Hall.

The public can view exotic cars and supercars of all types from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Police will block off 26th Avenue, 14th Avenue and neighboring streets for a pedestrian street party for viewing exotic cars. And other car clubs can make plans to bring cars, Papania said.

Exotic cars are produced in limited numbers and often are built in Italy or France. Supercars are high-performance luxury sports cars.

A pre-party will be held the night before Gulfport Octane. Downtown bars and restaurants will participate and live music is planned.

Papania said it’s probably going to be the largest collection ever of exotic cars in South Mississippi. The event comes one month after Cruisin’ The Coast, a week-long event that starts Oct. 1.

“We are a car community and we enjoy our car events,” Papania said.

The idea came about when Papania overheard Sgt. Joshua Bromen talking to Dr. Nate Boles about putting a few exotic cars on display next to the Police Department. Boles, who has a medical practice in Gulfport, drives a Lamborghini and is a member of a Cars & Coffee chapter.

“I said absolutely not,” Papania said.

“I said we need to make it a big event and hold it in Downtown Gulfport.”

Vinnie Carollo of Vinnie’s Exotics in Baton Rouge, La., decided to become involved. His clients own exotic cars and many of them are willing to put theirs on display.

Carollo is the one who brought two Ferraris to the press conference, with the help of Jude Morris of The Four Media. Morris’ marketing agency also is a sponsor.

“It has to be one of the most exhilarating things ever to drive an exotic car,” Carollo said.

Gulfport Main Street and Gulf Coast Exotic Auto of Biloxi are also sponsors.

“We’re going to see cars we’ve never seen before and with names we can’t pronounce,” Mayor Billy Hewes said. “It’s a great thing to bring people together in Downtown Gulfport.”

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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