The Special Olympics Delaware Truck Convoy will celebrate its 18th consecutive event this weekend with a parade of 200 tractor-trailer trucks on Delaware roads.
Some aspects of the annual celebration and fundraiser will be changed because of COVID-19.
One is that Special Olympic athletes will not be able to ride with the truckers this year.
On Saturday, the 200 trucks will be leaving the Delaware State Fair grounds in Harrington at 10 a.m. after drivers are provided a free breakfast by rally organizers.
The truckers will drive to the edge of the Maryland/Delaware state line, where they will take a right turn to follow Burnite Mill Road (Route 12) until they eventually reach U.S. 13 in Felton, which they take back to Harrington.
The route covers 29 miles, and the tractor trailers will be escorted by police, slowing traffic.
The Delaware Department of Transportation has signs up in the area and on Route 1 warning motorists about temporary road and lane closures because of the convoy.
The state said Tower Hill Road, Farmington Road, Walt Messick/Vernon Road, Whiteleysburg Road, Route 12/Burnite Mill Road, US 13 in Felton and Harrington will be closed at times.
Upon completion of the route, trucks will not return to the fairgrounds, as they usually do when the route ends near the main entrance there.
Delaware has taken part in the truck convoy since 2003 and has raised more than $650,000 dollars for the Delaware Special Olympics.
Check in for the event begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
One change from last year is that truckers cannot register for the event that day, in an effort to limit physical contact. Pre-registration is closed.
The trucks entering the convey must be classified as a 10-GVW, which means many of the trucks participating are from event sponsors Walmart and Purdue.
“We don’t have a lot of independent truckers,” said Corrinne Plummer, an event manager with the Special Olympics.
Another change is that the post event festival that truckers usually return to at the fairgrounds has been cancelled to limit exposure to COVID-19.
Face coverings are required for the event and all attendees must complete a coronavirus screening before arriving.
The Special Olympics truck rally will be taking place the same day as the “Truckin’ For Trump” rally, which will run from Middletown to Dover.
“We have had a few companies ask if their truckers are allowed to decorate their trucks with political banners or flag,” Plummer said, “The answer is always no, this event is not about that.”
The Special Olympics is not allowed to endorse any political candidate.
“Considering the year and the timing of it all, as well as the political climate that we’re all in, we’re just hoping that we don’t run any problems about this.,” Plummer said.