ELKHART — Being eliminated from the cornhole tournament Saturday was a blessing in disguise for Rosalyn and Frankie Wallace: It meant they could get to the cars and snow cones quicker.

The sisters, ages 3 and 1, came to the Grand Prix with parents Kimberly and Bryan Wallace. It was the family’s second time at the race since its revival last year and they were glad to see it return.

“Our 3-year-old was asking, ‘When are the cars coming back?’” said Kimberly Wallace. 

She was filling in on Bryan’s team after his friend had to cancel. They were one of 110 teams competing in the double-elimination tournament, which returned this year along with the race, for part of a $5,000 purse.

They came from Goshen but met people from around the region during the game, including Cleveland, Ohio, and Lansing, Michigan.

They set their sights on the nearby inflatables and food trucks after being eliminated.

“Now that we’re out of the tourney, we’ll head to the bouncy house and get some snow cones, the usual kind of thing,” Bryan Wallace said.

The tournament started at 10 a.m., and Cyndi DeYoung, one of the organizers, expected it to continue till about 4:30 p.m. Teams were spread out among 23 pairs of boards set up in two side-by-side rows, each shooting for a score of 21.

DeYoung noted players in the low-impact game ranged in age from teenagers to people in their 70s. Some played with a cup of beer in their other hand or, in Kimberly Wallace’s case, a toddler balanced on her hip.

“Anybody can do it,” DeYoung remarked. “Anyone from a pro to a backyard player can have fun at this event.”

Attendance

It was the first Grand Prix for Nicole and Andrew Wolf, who came from Mishawaka with son Carter, 1-1/2. As one of the morning races got under way, they stopped in a shady spot on the east side of the river to hold Carter up for a better view.

Nicole Wolf said she only learned about the race the day before, and they decided to come partly because they had missed the fair.

“Our son loves cars, so we know it was something he’d love,” she said. “We’ll definitely come next year. I can already tell he likes it.”

Mike Burrell, director of karting with United States Auto Club, called attendance Friday and Saturday incredible. 

“There were probably a couple thousand people here last night, and they’re estimating 8,000 will show up tonight,” he said. “Doing it as a Friday-Saturday thing, the buzz is a lot bigger.”

There were also 130 karters, which was a bit better than he expected. He noted a good chunk of them signed up after seeing that the weather would be good.

“It’s going to look real nice tonight, with the fireworks and the concert,” he added. “Then we’ll pack up and clean everything up and you’ll never know we were here.”

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