2021 Event Listings | Event Coverage
VolksFest 2021 was billed as one of the larger shows of 2021 in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast region of the US, but to be honest with you after the months and months of COVID-19 related forced distancing from the VW community, I would have settled for a meet and greet at McDonald's. When this show was announced I eagerly informed my friends and family to meet me at the show, where I would be debuting my 1972 Super Beetle convertible that I had been busy making road worthy since I bought it in July 2020. This show was to be the car's grand introduction to my extended family as well as to the show circuit in the region. The plan was to load up the family, drive the 125 miles to the show, stay overnight, hit the show in the morning, and then drive the 125 miles back home after dinner with some extended family.
Not one to take a 250-mile round-trip in a 50-year-old car lightly, I had the car serviced at Cooker's Restorations the month before and she was purring like a cat. As the Friday before the show arrived, I was feeling confident as I packed my wife, my 7- and 6-year-old daughters, and most of their worldly possessions and snacks into the front and rear storage areas of the car. This was to be our first great road-trip adventure in the car and my heart was beating a mile a minute as we pulled out of our neighborhood.
Five minutes into the drive we had just merged onto I-270 heading north to Frederick, Maryland when we hit traffic. Clutch in, clutch out, clutch in, clutch out for 3 miles was enough for me to get off on the next exit and start looking for side streets. Thirty minutes later my daughters were buried in their stuffed animals, eating sandwiches, watching their Kindles, and for all intents and purposes dead to any sort of external stimuli. My wife was gamely trying to enjoy the trip, however her experiences in air cooled VW's began and ended with her father accidentally sending his Beetle unmanned down the hill and into the forests of Puerto Rico after the parking brake failed. She eyed any repairs or maintenance I did to the car with suspicion, and rightfully so. Having not owned a VW since I was 18, the intervening twenty years gave me plenty of time to forget lessons hard learned. She knew I was looking forward to this trip probably more than common sense and reason would dictate, but she was willing to humor me for the sake of my well-being. Us foolhardy VW nuts with dreams outreaching our grasp cannot always be counted upon to make rational decisions, therefore I do not think that if she had any reservations about a lengthy car trip I would have heard them!
Forty-five minutes into the drive and thirty-five miles from home I-270 ended and turned into US-15, which would take me all they way to Hershey, PA. I was looking forward to an end of the traffic and being able to have a pleasant two-hour cruise to our destination. One final block of traffic was between myself and freedom, and as I pushed in the clutch to downshift, I heard a metallic *SNAP* and immediately my left foot slammed against the firewall as any resistance between the clutch pedal and my foot vanished in an instant. I lifted my foot but the clutch pedal, no longer attached to anything, did not follow. As I used my residual momentum to ease off the road, I knew my hopes and dreams of making the show in style were in big trouble. In between the location of my breakdown, the type of breakdown suffered, and my mechanic skills I knew my options were limited. We all know that moment when something has gone dramatically wrong, but your brain is not willing to comprehend to obvious. In the VW community these platitudes we tell ourselves are usually "that stutter is probably just bad gas," or "someone must be burning leaves," or "that generator light always comes on." In my case it was, "I have a spare clutch cable, it'll be an easy fix."
I had no choice but to pull
over on the left-hand side of the road, half in the grass and half on
the shoulder. As luck would have it traffic had cleared up and my wife
was getting passed my cars at 60 miles an hour as I jumped out of the
car to examine my pedal assembly. There was the clutch pedal, sitting
against the firewall like a dead fish, but there was no sign of the clutch
cable anywhere. Frantically I peeled back my carpet to hopefully see a
broken cable sticking out of the tunnel, but upon pulling up the old carpet
I realized that there was no way I could fix this issue on the side of
the road. The tunnel was solid steel, no access hole had ever been drilled
in this car. At this stage I fell back on my military background and assessed
my current situation:
Personnel: My entire family and all our worldly possessions (mostly stuffed animals and food). Issue: Potentially snapped clutch cable, unable to confirm as the clutch cable in question is missing in action. Chances of Self-Repair: Nil.As I continued between looking at the pedal cluster and getting on my back to see if I could make out the outline of the transmission in the tall grass, my wife was already calling a tow truck. Apparently, she wasn't the only one coming up with situation reports in her head. The truck arrived within ten minutes thankfully, and as I climbed off the ground, I moved the driver's seat forward to unbuckle my kids in the back. My oldest looked up at me like I was lost and asked: "Why do we have to go? What's going on?" They had no idea we had stopped, let alone had broken down on the side of a busy highway. As my beloved car was being ignominiously pulled onto the back of a flatbed wrecker, I reflected that although I cannot keep technology from my past generation from breaking, at least the technology from the current generation can keep people from noticing.
As the wrecker was charging
by the mile, I had him drop us off at the closest supermarket that had
a large parking lot. I locked up the car, bid the wrecker a farewell,
and called an Uber to take us the 35 miles back home. Upon arrival at
my house, I packed up my tow bar, length of chain, and loaded everybody
up in our mini-van for the trip back to the grocery store to rescue the
Our wake-up call was at 7:00am as the VW bus parked outside our hotel room roared to life. I'm pretty sure the guy was running a 1914cc engine in it with a modified exhaust as he revved the old girl to life. I was incredibly happy to gather up my family and make our way to the Mt. Hope Estate. With a brewery and a winery on site and what was looking to be a very good turn out, I was in high spirits despite not having a VW to show.
The air-cooled zone is where I wanted to be. From buses, to bugs, to Things, squarebacks, notchbacks, every air-cooled VW was represented apart from the fastback. There was a wonderful mix of new and old, and it provided a great chance to look at the evolution of air-cooled VW's over the years.
This was my view as I took in the sights and sounds of our first real VW show in the COVID world. The turnout was great, the weather was perfect, and everybody was in a good humor. It was almost as though this entire community collectively decided that it was time to bring back the hobby and the atmosphere resembled more of a family reunion than anything else.
The Kid's Zone was where individuals attending the show could register their kids for a show-wide scavenger hunt. I had never seen a scavenger hunt at a car show before and it turned out to be a great idea, allowing kids to enjoy looking for certain items among the cars was both very educational and fun.
The real showstopper was Bob Cook's 1954 barn-door Type II. I had never seen a real barn-door bus before, and it was amazing. Even though it was lowered and with a bigger engine that it had in 1954, it was still the model of simplicity in both design and styling. Seeing the juxtaposition between the Spartan interior with the chrome of the rims and engine was a nice contrast, but the genuinely interesting thing about these early buses are seeing the semaphore turn signals that were present just behind the doors.
My personal favorite was this 1972 Super Beetle. My first car was the same year and model, so I was very biased, however the elderly gentleman who drove this car two hours almost did not enter it in the show. Having given up any hope of winning anything he spent the entire show away from his vehicle looking at the other cars. Upon his return later in the day he was incredibly surprised and happy to learn his car earned an award, but alas I did not know which one it was because they had already called up the winners. He was able to claim his trophy, however it was nice to see a Super Beetle win something amongst the Ovals, Splits, and Ghia's in attendance.
This was without a doubt the best homage to Herbie that I have ever seen. This 1963 Beetle had wide racing tires, a built-in roll cage, and broke over 180hp on the dyno. It was an amazing sight to behold and was a crowd favorite, however I really would have enjoyed driving this Herbie on the track. (Pictured with my niece and nephews)
A small portion of the show. The oldest car at the show was this 1950 Beetle. The individual who owned it kept it as original as he could but was quick to show pictures that when he received this car it was little more than a rusted-out frame (his license plate had a picture of the vehicle pre-restoration). It was absolutely stunning to see what the VW Beetle had to offer the Americans the first year it was widely available in the US, and it was even bigger wonder that this car had managed to survive almost 71 years to be present at this show.
The oft-mentioned yet seldom seen 1952 "Zwitter" Beetle. Meaning "hybrid" in German, the Zwitter's were only produced for a short period in 1952-1953 where the old split-window body was retained, but also incorporated the new-Oval window chrome trim, vent windows, and dashboard. This 1957 oval window Beetle was a gorgeous example of the type. The chrome, fog lights, and flawless paint made it a beautiful addition to see just how "jazzed" up the Beetle became after a few short years when compared to the relatively spartan Beetles of the early 50's. Although this particular Beetle was not as flashy has some of the other vehicles from 1957, she was shining like a new penny at VolksFest. Although not an Oval, this lowered Beetle presented wonderfully, with the "on air" sign, swamp cooler, and safari windows completing the look.
There were quite a few Double-Cabs at VolksFest, but without a doubt this was the best one in my opinion. The owner saved this example when most people would have consigned the wreck to a scrapyard. The Porsche wheels, lowered stance, and 1600cc engine were beautiful, however it was the paint combination that truly made the look complete. The owner confided in me that the white was a standard VW color, however the brown was the same color as his wife's Scion xB!
The conclude the show was a
wonderful event that was long overdue. The weather and people could not
have been nicer, which led to an exceptionally large turnout. I am sincerely
looking forward to more of these shows, and next time I'll hopefully be
able to actually bring a VW!
The Winter Volksfest event, in its 15th year, was held at the NC State Fairgrounds this past January. Despite everything going on with COVID and restrictions, they were able to still pull off the show. All state and county regulations were put in place and the event went off quite well with absolutely no issues. The building was packed with swap meet and beautiful VWs from all over the Southeast.
Many folks walked out with the items they needed for their restorations, plus those that were selling got a chance to clean out their garage and maybe pick up new things. The show area was filled with hundreds of Beautiful VWs of all kinds. Whether you had a daily driver, trailer queen or a full-on show car, you had plenty to check out and get ideas for your own Volkswagen project.
There were Volksfolks from all over the East Coast and from even as far as Texas! The Strictly Air VW Club out of New Jersey made the long trip down driving their air-cooled Volkswagens, enjoyed the show and then headed straight back home afterwards to avoid a huge snowstorm that was on the way. Now that is true VW dedication! Thanks to all that made this incredible show possible and we're looking forward to next year already!
We jumped in the car early Friday morning super excited to go to this show. We had been looking forward to it for months. We made the drive down from San Antonio in the cool of the morning and were one of the first to arrive at the host hotel. We were so excited to start to hear the unmistakable sound of the air-cooled engines as they started to arrive. The parking lot filled up quickly, but it was hard not to notice we were the only Super there.
The DUBS and Dogs show on Saturday was amazing the small parking lot at the dealership was packed full of beautiful cars, again there were only us and one other a beautiful black convertible. The morning of the event everyone at the hotel was up with the sun making last minute adjustments and cleaning. I was so excited to get there the show didn't start until 9 and I drug my poor husband out the door and into the car at 7:30 I just could not stand the excitement any more. When we pulled up to the park there was already a line forming.
The first car that caught my eye was this beautiful red and off-white Super. I was totally pumped to see another one and one so beautiful. The line grew until it was 8 cars long and there were 4 lines. We were talking to a man who had a beautiful right-hand drive 57, who could not believe we had made the 309-mile trip in George. He was even more shocked to hear that it was me, not my husband who does all the maintenance and work to keep George loving all those miles. I was amazed at all the cars that were brought out on a trailer they were beautiful, but I love to see them driven.
Suddenly all you could hear was the sound of all the engines starting all the chatter ended and everyone was jumping in to their cars, the sound of all the engines running together was amazing. We all started down the path into the park, the excitement was unbelievable. The first guy we passed on our way in yelled "hey look at the fat chick" but he was smiling and waving.
They parked us under a big tree between two buses and a beautiful green truck. It was amazing to just sit and watch the line of VW of all kinds make their way in to every space available. The number of beautiful cars was simply amazing. Everywhere you looked there was a car it was amazing how many cars were there.
was a bit overwhelming it was a day filled with great cars, live music
and lots of great people. The cars that stood out to me the most were
the Supers. I love all VW's but the Super to me is the best. I love the
feeling of the keys in my hand, the smell of the interior, and the sound
of the engine. You just can't beat the feeling of jumping in your car
and knowing that weather it is 300 or 5 miles you will be smiling the
whole way. It was an amazing weekend. 618 miles round trip in George and
he didn't miss a beat. Love my Super!!!
15th Annual Funfest for Air-Cooled
Story and photography by Kelsey Rhoney
Effingham, Ill. USA The rain did not keep guests away as Mid America Motorworks welcomed a significant crowd of Volkswagens and enthusiasts from around the world to Effingham, Ill. to celebrate the 15th Annual Funfest for Air-Cooled VW. The Magical Mystery Funfest celebrated the hobby with 3 days of expert seminars, swap meet, fun judging, a headlining Saturday night concert, Water-Cooled show field and test drives sponsored by O'Brien Volkswagen of Urbana and more.
Funfest for Air-Cooled VW is known as the premier Volkswagen celebration in the U.S., with guests attending from all over the world. 2013 was no exception, as Funfest welcomed Belgium guests Bob Van Heyst from B.B.T. and Gunter Hofman from Custom Speed Parts, Germany, as well as Carsten Thrandorf and Bernhard Khadow from VW Classic Parts.
Funfest kicked off Friday as a stream of some 200-plus VWs toured scenic Effingham County on the Fun Run Road Tour led by Big Red, the World's Largest Baja Beetle, which weighs in at over 10,000 pounds. Big Red, who was created by The Walter Project, played tunes as The Fun Run transitioned into a parade into Downtown Effingham, where the Effingham Convention and Visitors Bureau welcomed the crowd with live music, food and drink.
Another notable guest at the event was Damon Ristau, independent filmmaker and creator of "The Bus" documentary. Ristau, who came all the way from Missoula, Mont., screened his film throughout the weekend in the special Funfest movie theater and gave a special introduction to the film Saturday. The filmmaker was also in attendance to seek out footage for his upcoming prequel documentary on the Volkswagen Beetle.
New to Funfest for Air-Cooled VW this year was the addition of a special exhibit of WWII vehicles and memorabilia from the world famous collection of Dr. Mac Jones. The display included a Kübelwagen, Schwimmwagen, KdF-Wagen and other rare and unique WWII vehicles. The exhibit's grand opening was May 31, with the display remaining at the MY Garage Museum & Retail Store throughout the summer to raise money for the Effingham County Veteran's Memorial.
A highlight of Saturday afternoon was the Expert Panel moderated by Michael Yager Jr. The impressive panel consisted of Mike Yager, Chief Cheerleader of Mid America Motorworks, John Gunnell, a noted VW author, Bob Van Heyst of BBT, filmmaker Damon Ristau, Jeremy Vreeman of Motorworks Restoration, Carsten Thrandorf of VW Classic Parts and collector Dr. Mac Jones. The group discussed topics such as the overall pricing of the VW market and where it is going, the increase in price and collectability of 23 window buses, restoring versus keeping your VW original, "The Bus" documentary project, the WWII exhibit and how Dr. Mac Jones got started in collecting and more.
The Install Dome, where the likes of Mid America Motorworks, J&L Automotive, Klokkerhom, Key Parts, Inc., SCAT Enterprises, Atomwerk Engineering, Custom & Speed Parts, TMI Products Inc, PERFORMANCE CHOICE, Midwest AutoSavers, Motorworks Restorations and more handled on-site installations for VW enthusiasts. The popular Celebrity Choice Awards were given special attention with front row parking outside the Fun Dome and an award presentation. More than 45 registered guests received a commemorative art trophy as winners of the Celebrity Choice VW Judging Saturday and Sunday. During the Awards Ceremony Sunday, VW Classic Parts presented Bryan Sonderegger from St. Peters, MO with a $200.00 Best In Show Award. His 1964 Karmann Ghia Type 4 was chosen because of its great condition and German-style restoration.
Beatles hits filled the air Saturday evening as the most authentic Beatles Tribute Band, The Return, performed live inside the Fun Dome. The entertainment was moved inside the permanent structure due to rain so concert-goers could sing and dance along to a variety of #1 hits including I Want to Hold Your Hand, Hey Jude and Hello Goodbye. During a set change, a fireworks display presented by O'Brien Volkswagen of Urbana, captured guests attention in celebration of the 15 year milestone of the event.
from the weekend include tours of PERFORMANCE CHOICE manufacturing division,
Low Speed Slaloms, Exhaust Wars, Expert Seminars, test drives from O'Brien
Volkswagen of Urbana and more. Plans are underway for the next Funfest
for Air-Cooled VW.
Funfest for Air-Cooled VW
Delivers the Fun
Story and photography by Jennifer Hinterscher
Effingham, Ill USA. - Some 1,300 Volkswagens and 5,000 enthusiasts from around the world met at Mid America Motorworks in Effingham, Ill. to celebrate Funfest for Air-Cooled VW. The three-day event honored the 1972 Volkswagen milestone of surpassing the Ford Model T as the most-produced vehicle with the 15 millionth Beetle rolling off the assembly line, securing its place in automotive history.
Funfest for Air-Cooled VW is known as the premier Volkswagen celebration in the U.S., with guests attending from all over the world. 2012 was no exception, as Funfest welcomed Belgium guests Bob and Linda Van Heyst from B.B.T., as well as Carsten Thrandorf and Bernhard Khadow from VW Classic Parts of the UK.
Funfest kicked off Friday as a stream of some 200-plus VWs toured scenic Effingham County on the Fun Run Road Tour. The Fun Run transitioned into a parade into Downtown Effingham, where live music and an outdoor movie screening entertained the crowd.
Attendees were part of a special Opening Ceremony where Mid America Motorworks Chief Cheerleader and founder, Mike Yager unveiled the weekend’s guest of honor, his 1972 Baja Edition Super Beetle. The newest addition to the MY Garage Museum collection, the Beetle still features original window stickers and boasts less than 800 original miles.
Because Funfest welcomes VW enthusiasts from all generations, Yager recognizes nominated attendees with the Passing on the Passion Award each year. Butch and Jane Sevila took home the prize this year with a 1965 Beetle Convertible that they restored together in time for Jane to have as a daily driver when she turned 16. The father-daughter pair even restored a 1966 Karmann Ghia so Jane could practice driving manual transmission in preparation for Funfest.
New to Funfest this year was the Install Dome, where the likes of RetroSound, EMPI, SCAT, Mid America Motorworks, Robert Bosch Inc., J&L International and more handled on-site installations for VW enthusiasts. The popular Celebrity Choice Awards were given special attention with the addition of a Winners Corral and staging area for award presentation. More than 40 registered guests received a commemorative medallion as winners of the Celebrity Choice VW Judging Saturday and Sunday. During the Awards Ceremony Sunday, VW Classic Parts presented Douglas Narczewski with a $200.00 Best In Show Award.
ZZ Top hits filled the air Saturday evening as Eliminator performed live at the outdoor concert. Concert-goers sought shelter inside Mid America Motorworks’ two permanent domes during an unexpected cloud burst until the skies cleared and America’s most authentic tribute to ZZ Top took the main stage.
Additional highlights from the weekend include tours of Performance Choice manufacturing division and the MY Garage Museum and Retail Store, Low Speed Slaloms, expert seminars and more. Plans are underway for the next Funfest for Air-Cooled VW!