2020 Event Listings | Event Coverage
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Funfest For Air-Cooled VW

Story and photography by Nancy Bushur

EFFINGHAM, IL - Mid America Motorworks' 150 acre corporate campus in Effingham, IL was flooded with Volkswagen's of all types during the 10th Annual Funfest for Air-Cooled VW. This year's Funfest had, yet again, record breaking numbers. Throughout the two day customer appreciation party, there were over 1,300 Volkswagen's and 8,000 enthusiasts that flocked the grounds at Mid America Motorworks.

This year Mid America Motorworks honored special guest Bruce Meyers and his creation, the Meyers Manx Dune Buggy. There are many different styles of Dune Buggies, but Bruce Meyers is the man who started it all. "Funfest for Air-Cooled VW was a huge success," said Mike Yager, founder and Chief Cheerleader at Mid America Motorworks. "As we played host to attendees from 29 states and Canada this year, we made sure there was something for everyone."

One highlight of the event was the Dune Buggy Build that took place during the free two day event. A group from dunebuggyarchives.com was challenged with the task of building a dune buggy from the ground up in just two days. Without a doubt, this was exciting to watch. The group achieved the impossible late Sunday afternoon and had the Buggy outside the tent for a photo shoot.

Mike Yager led 250 Volkswagen's on a fun filled 20 mile scenic Road Tour. Mid America Motorworks added a twist this year to the tour by turning it into a Poker Run Road Tour. $1,000 worth of gift certificates were awarded to the best hands at the completion of the tour. After the Road Tour, Mid America Motorworks still had more in store for their customers that evening. A Chuck Wagon BarBQ, bonfire and live entertainment were waiting for the participants upon their arrival from the 20 mile cruise.

Some of the event's other highlights were:

"Free Tech seminars and product demonstrations"
"Free event t-shirts, pins, and posters for registered entrants"
"Free camping on the grounds"
"Kid's events - shirt tie-dyeing, model car races, beading classes, Chalk the Bug, and face painting"
"Spa for manicures, pedicures, and massages"

Plans are already in the works for the 2009 Funfest for Air-Cooled VW, set for June 6th and 7th, 2009.

Punch Buggy 4 SickKids

Story and photography by Wayne Dean

Planning a Volkswagen event can really take a lot out of you. First you have to pick a date (hoping that the weather will cooperate), and then try to contact enough Volkswagen owners to make the whole thing worth while. After that it's off to the city to try to get permission to use some park land for the event. Then you have to try to line up some sponsors to help carry some of the expense for the day. If you have a cruise planned, you have to plan out the route and print out enough copies of the map so that none of the participants will get lost. Add to that refreshments, prizes, entertainment, and so many other things you might think, "Why would any sane individual do this?"

Well Mitch Petty had a very personal reason for taking on this monumental task, his 8 month old daughter. Little Veronica got a bad blood infection and spent a lot time at the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She has since been diagnosed with a kidney abnormality, which means that Mitch and his family will be regular visitors to the hospital for monitoring. Needless to say, he totally believes in Sick Kids and wanted to raise money for the hospital, and have some fun at the same time. This is how Punch Buggy 4 SickKids was born.

Mitch planned to drive his 1974 Baja Beetle on a 40-hour Drive-a-thon to raise money to benefit the hospital. The cruise would take him up and down some of the busiest streets in the city and help to raise awareness for his heartfelt cause. During the week prior to the event the weather forecast was not looking too good, and on the Friday night before he really wasn't sure if it was going to happen as it was calling for rain and thunderstorms for the entire day. I said a prayer for Mitch and his daughter (what could it hurt?) and went to bed. My wife and I woke up at about 8am and looked outside, no rain. So we got dressed, hopped in our Super Beetle and set a new land speed record heading for Coronation Park just outside the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

We arrived to about a dozen Volkswagens parked in a semicircle with more coming in by the minute. Once we got our VW set up we made our rounds saying hi to all of the fellow V-Dubbers that made the trek out to help Mitch realize his dream. A radio station was on site and a couple of local television stations were busy recording the event and interviewing our gracious host. Around noon Mitch fired up his Baja and announced that it was time for our "Victory Lap" around the city.

We had about twenty or so VWs in tow, including a Karmann Ghia and a couple of Buses as we traveled eastbound in front of Lake Ontario and then up through the heart of the city, where were did a couple of laps around the Sick Kids Hospital. With the sun shining down on our little parade it was pretty hard not to get a little emotional over the whole thing. Holding myself together my wife and I gave the peace symbol to all of the people that where waving and taking pictures along the route.

After about an hour we were back at the park eating hot dogs and listening to the sounds of Kim Koren and Punchbuggy Yellow. At this point we knew that the day could not have gotten any better and we were happy for Mitch and his enthusiastic crew. Spectators were busy checking out the Volkswagens while their owners were making sure that Mitch knew that they would be back again next year to support this great cause.

It's great when all of the planning comes together so that an event can go off without a hitch and I don't what happened to all of that rain that was forecast, but it might be nice to think that someone was watching over us and Veronica. Please click here to donate and thanks to all of those people who did.

Little Anthony's 50's Car Show
Hosted by Tucson Arizona's Dry Heat Panzers

Story and photography by Loren R. Knapp

Little Anthony's 1950's style diner periodically has hot rod car shows. This one took place on Saturday September 9th, and it was the first time ever that a VW club sponsored the show. It was put together at the last possible moment, but the DHP (Dry Heat Panzers VW Club) still managed to fill the parking lot with 38 VW's.

DHP raffled off the artistic talents of Lemorris Harris, who happens to be a very skilled auto illustrator. The person whose name was drawn would have a framed large professional illustration of their vehicle done by Lemorris. The money made from the raffle went to a local high school to use toward restoration of a VW bug by the auto shop class.

Fun was had by all enjoying the old style rock 'n roll music and scrumptious hamburgers, fries and malts delivered by beautiful car hops in poodle skirts. "The Blues" and I had a great time and enjoyed visiting with the hard-core hot rodders, who seemed to tolerate all the air cooled V-dubs.

The 11th Annual Bugtoberfest

Story and photography by Loren R. Knapp

The big event this year took place Sunday, October 15th, and turned out to be the biggest ever. People traveled from all the surrounding states for the show as well as the swap meet, where you could find just about everything you would need in the way of VW parts. Next to Chirco's is a big lot owned by Joe Chirco, and he opened that to anyone who came in from out of state to camp during the event.

I left my house at 4:00 a.m. in order to get a good spot this year and was the second car in line. The entry fee was a bag of canned food for the local food bank. All monies raised went to the local food bank. Joe had a big free barbeque the night before for all the people, who had registered their cars. He and his crew including the whole Chirco family cooked up nearly 500 hamburgers and just about as many hotdogs!

The morning of the show it was cloudy and cool and did sprinkle for a while, but then the skies opened up and it turned out to be a beautiful day in the high 70's. General Manager Don Wiggins told me that they had 128 cars this year and they had zero room for more. They plan to clear off some more land and make more room for next year.

The highlight of the day was the World Famous Chirco Engine Blow. They take a VW engine and fire it up with zero oil. Then run it full throttle until it blows. People in the crowd purchased a chance to win a $100 Chirco Gift Certificate if they can come closest to guessing when the engine would seize up. The money made on this event also goes to the food bank. Last year the engine hung in there for nearly 12 minutes, as I recall. So, I guessed 7 minutes 36 seconds. It started smoking and gave up the ghost at 2 minutes 3 seconds.

Many VW clubs from around the state participated, and in addition to all the different "People's Choice" categories that Chirco awarded trophies for, each club also presented trophies. I shot quite a few photos, and some you'll see here on SuperBeetles.com. I was told that my car received quite a few "Daily Driver" votes and actually was ranked in the top 5. Unfortunately they only have a first, second and third prize in this category. Such is life…. I had a great time anyway.

20th Anniversary June Jitter Bug

Story by John Spironello of John's Bug Shop

The first June Jitter Bug was held in 1986 at the "Katz" Drive-In restaurant in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada. The show was put on by the members of the Niagara Volks Folks Volkswagen Car club. The show has had several location changes but is now held at beautiful Firemen's Park. The June Jitter Bug is a fun event which has games for the kids, fun for the adults, and food for everyone. Firemen's Park is a well shaded area that has a giant playground for the children. We always want to make sure that people have a great time during their stay in Niagara Falls during the weekend of the show. So in order to do this we started Saturday's events at dusk or around 5:00pm. This gives people who are staying the weekend to do some site seeing during the day time.

The Saturday night event was held in the Canadian Tire parking lot, located on Mcleod Road in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It was a cruise night atmosphere, very casual, and very low key. Later in the night we went on a cruise through the city and by the world famous Niagara Falls. We're so close to the Falls that your VW gets wet while on the cruise. There was plenty of food available for everyone at the local Tim Horton's, Wendy's Hamburgers, Mr Sub, and Ivan's Bar.

Sunday: The JJB is a participants judged car show. This means whomever enters their Volkswagen in the show gets a ballot sheet to judge vehicles that are not in their own class. You must hand in your judging sheet by the specific time posted at the show. We have found that over the years, because of the increase in car count, that we no longer have the means of judging the vehicles using professionals. There were door prizes given out on a regular basis throughout the day and the Swap Meet section was incredible. With new and used parts vendors, T-shirt vendors, and even Tool vendors, no one went home empty handed.

One of the most popular attractions was our famous "Clutch Eater". This is a giant teeter - totter for cars, and this seemed to challenge quite a few this year. The object is to drive your car up one side and try to balance your car in the middle. This is extremely difficult to do, because one inch too much past the pivot point sends the teeter - totter off balance and you have to go in reverse to try and balance it. This sequence happens back and forth for about a minute, and then someone else tries. Only a few have ever mastered this and the winner received a great compliment for their VW, a new clutch! Compliments of Euro Drive Clutches. The quality of Volkswagens at the show was just incredible to say the least, with over 250 vehicels in attendance. The June Jitter Bug is now in it's 20th year and this year was the best one yet! Many thanks to the sponsors and crew that made this show possible, and a special thanks to Andy Gross for putting it all together, year after year.

19th Annual VW Nationals - Australia's Largest VW-Audi Car Show

Story and photography by Lee Noonan

On Easter Sunday morning, six of the locals including my wife and I, left home at 6am to drive the 300 kms to the 19th Annual 2006 VW Nationals - Australia's largest VW-Audi car show.

What was different this year? Well, we were all driving water cooled non-Volkswagens. By some strange coincidence, most of Our Beetles were off the road for repairs, or modifications. Two of the Beetles had cracked engine blocks and the bolt that holds my flexplate to the engine (Read: Flywheel bolt in manual cars) had come loose. So there was no line of Beetles heading south this Easter.

We did however have a beautiful sunny summers day even though its Autumn down here. There were many new entries in the Type 1 and Type 2 classes at the show and shine. And just about every spare part was available, either new or used. The prices asked for used parts was very inexpensive, and I must say the Taiwanese chrome on some of the new VW accessories is now excellent! I hope this trend continues.

As usual, many of the Beetles that parked in the car park, should have been entered in the show and shine. I hope that you'll enjoy a look at some of Australia's Beetles and Type 2's. My son and I go to the VW Nationals in the city of Sydney each Easter Sunday, and since we live in the country, we really have no idea how to get to the VW nationals each year.

So when we are close to the area, we look for a nice Beetle or Type 2 and simply follow it to the show. This year we followed a nice Type 2 Bus with three people inside, and we thought that they would have to be going to the VW Show [doesn't everyone??]

Well, this Bus took us to the front gate of the VW Show, but they didn't turn in. It seems that these people weren't really VW people at all as they drove right on past the VW Nationals. I'm just glad they showed us the way!

Funfest for Beetle

Story and photography by Cheryl Habing

EFFINGHAM, IL - For two days in early June, the town of Effingham, IL, is the world capital for Air-Cooled Volkswagens when Mid America Motorworks hosts its Funfest for Air-Cooled VWs. Funfest 2006 will be Saturday and Sunday, June 3-4, 2006.

Funfest is a two-day "Customer Appreciation Party" for air-cooled Volkswagen enthusiasts. You can't beat the price-just about everything is free! There is no charge for admission, no charge for parking, no charge to visit the Mid America Motorworks museum, and no charge to attend any of the tech seminars or product demonstrations. You can even camp free on the Funfest grounds Friday and Saturday night, with toilets and sinks provided.

The honored vehicle for Funfest 2006 will be the classic, air-cooled VW bus, but all air-cooled Volkswagens are welcome. Last year, Funfest honored Herbies, while attracting an estimated 1,000 VWs, including Beetles, Super Beetles, Ghias, Buses, Things, Dune Buggies, customs, hot rods, and kit cars. There were even a few New Beetles and water cooled VWs to be seen.

Last year, Mid America Motorworks had two authentic Herbie cars from the movie, Herbie Goes Bananas. Their Herbies were on display, in addition to a NASCAR Herbie and a "Pimp" Herbie that were used in the latest movie, Herbie Fully Loaded.

For Air-Cooled VW enthusiasts, just seeing 1,000 cars in one place, and talking to fellow VW enthusiasts would justify a trip to Effingham, located about 90 miles northeast of St. Louis and 250 miles south of Chicago, at the intersection of Interstate Routes 57 and 70. But Funfest offers more than a vast field filled with Volkswagens, including:

-A scenic Road Tour Saturday evening.
-Technical seminars by Volkswagen experts.
-Displays of significant and unique VW models.
-Children's activities, including VW painting and racing.
-A VW Fashion Show featuring VW clothing and accessories for men, women, and children.
-An extensive Funfest Swap Meet featuring all kinds of Beetle parts and accessories.
-Blow-out best bargain area.
-Tours of the MY Garage R&D Center and Museum

You can also get a bargain on new VW parts and accessories. At Funfest, Mid America Motorworks sells any items in its catalog at 10% off, with FREE ground shipping. For more information, or to register for Funfest 2006, go to the Mid America Motorworks website or call (800) 500-1500.

The 10th Annual Bugtoberfest

Story and photography by Loren R. Knapp

The festivities began a 6:00pm on Saturday October 22nd in the parking lot of Chirco's VW Performance and Restoration Shop. Joe Chirco was manning the grill and slingin' the dogs and burgers and just like this 10th Annual Bugtoberfest VW car show, it was all free…and all you could eat too!

The next morning I was out of bed at 4:00am in order to get "The Blues" into a good space at the show. We managed to get the first space to be filled. Everyone entering the show dropped off a bag of nonperishable food items at the registration desk. This all went to the local food back as well as all money collected from the raffles, engine blow contest and other events.

Joe had everything in the store discounted 10% and there were all kinds of VW swap meet people there selling their V-dub goodies. The turn out was great with cars from Phoenix, California, Mexico and Texas. A Bug from Mexico slid in just under the wire as the show started at 8:00am. Near as I could make out from their broken English they had driven straight through covering 500 miles to attend the show.

Every possible space had a VW in it. Nearly 175 entries and lots of smiling faces. I took many pictures which will be put to good use at SuperBeetles.com in the future. I did see one very humorous thing. A father was carrying his young daughter on his shoulder and I heard him say, "No, you can't play Slug-Bug here." My arm hurts just thinking about it, ouch!

"The Blues" came home without a trophy again, but that's not what its all about. You V-dubbers know what I mean. The 10th Annual Bugtoberfest was a great show and I'd like to thank Joe and the staff at Chirco for making it happen. Their hard work and dedication to the air-cooled Volkswagen is an inspiration to all. Hope to see you at the event next year!

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