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Fans flock to Thunder Thursday at The Pike

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The 49th annual Thunder Thursday shows racing fans what they can expect for the highly anticipated Acura Grand Prix, which begins Friday and ends Sunday.

Hundreds rushed to The Pike to see the different colored sports cars and hang out with some of the drivers.

Thunder Thursday is hosted at the Pike Outlets downtown along Shoreline Dr. to warm up automotive fans before the Grand Prix.
4/18/24 – Long Beach, Calif: Thunder Thursday is hosted at the Pike Outlets downtown along Shoreline Drive to warm up automotive fans before the Grand Prix. Photo credit: Mark Siquig

Among those drivers is Rome Charpentier, who drives in Formula Drift 1 for the 2024 season.

“Since I was born, my parents took me every year to the Long Beach Grand Prix,” Charpentier said. “It was my dream as a young kid to drive in Long Beach, and it’s so surreal to be on the other side of it.”

4/18/23 - Long Beach, Calif: Formula Drift 1 driver Rome Charpentier talked with the packed-out audience. Charpentier dreamed of being a race car driver when he was growing up and he's filled out that dream.
4/18/24 – Long Beach, Calif: Formula Drift 1 driver Rome Charpentier talked with the packed-out audience. Charpentier dreamed of being a race car driver when he was growing up and now has fulfilled that dream. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

Free to the public, attendees from far and wide went to The Pike to view the different cars.

The rides at Thunder Thursday varied from sleek-looking race cars to sports cars and live music from The Moon Jays and Manuel The Band played while audience members danced into the sunset.

Food booths were packed with energetic and excited fans, many of which talked with drivers and had a chance to get autographs.

The action continued throughout Thursday evening with the crowd huddling near the front gate to see daring tricks such as pit stop competitions and motorcycle stunts later in the night.

4/18/23 - Long Beach, Calif: The motorcycle freestyles brought the most attention to the audience as viewers crowded to the front to get a better view or even film it for themselves.
4/18/24 – Long Beach, Calif: The motorcycle freestyles brought the most attention to the audience as viewers crowded to the front to get a better view or even film it for themselves. Photo credit: Samuel Chacko

With every trick the motorcyclists pulled off successfully, the audience’s “oohs” and “ahhs” echoed in the packed bleachers.

Thunder Thursday brought together Long Beach residents and willing travelers to enjoy what they like most: cars and daring tricks.

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