2021 Event Listings | Event Coverage
photography by Daryl Martin
The North Alabama Volkswagen Club held their 8th Annual Bug'n in July charity car show earlier this month in beautiful Point Mallard Park in Decatur, Alabama. Point Mallard Park, hidden among North Alabama's wooded pines, is a 500-acre family park that features an 18 hole golf course none of the South's best golf courses, a 25-acre wooded campground, and America's first wave pool, and an indoor ice skating rink!
The show and swap meet took place under the giant blue pavilion that used to house the old ice-skating rink. It was the perfect location for a summer car show, providing ample room for the 70+ cars and offering protection from the hot July sun and occasional summer sprinkle. The show benefited Crisis Services of North Alabama, a multi service agency for individuals and families in crisis. For the second year in a row, Bug'n in July was a two-day show, featuring lots of great info and entertainment for the whole family including Tech talks, an engine blow, and R/C drag racing!
The Tech talk was hosted by Vic from Online Air-cooled Part. Vic discussed the importance of maintaining your Volkswagen's fuel system and the proper location and placement of in-line fuel filters. The engine blow, always a crowd favorite, was handled by Airkooled Kustom's own Eric "Spook" LeClair. Using a discarded 40 hp motor, Spook invested a little time and a few parts to get the greasy derelict engine back to life. Bolted to an engine stand and outfitted with a thunderous exhaust system, the engine roared to life on Sunday and ran for just over two minutes before smoking and succumbing to thermal breakdown.
New this year was the R/C Volkswagen drag-racing. Track conditions and crowd participation were a little off on Saturday, but on Sunday, the track was moved to grippier concrete and several more spectators and R/C VW's showed up. Kevin Howlett won the unlimited class with his "invisible" New Beetle (unpainted body shell) with his wife Sandra taking a close 2nd in her red classic Beetle. And in case you forgot your miniature racer, Dolphe Mills was on-hand during the show selling goodies from his large and enviable collection of die-cast Volkswagen toys and collectibles.
If you got hungry during the weekend, the Boy Scouts were ready with peanuts and soft drinks, and the Hickory Barn BBQ folks returned this year with fresh smoked pork and BBQ sundaes!" For dessert, Cakes, etc. brought out an amazing Herbiecake on Saturday to share with the crowd. The showed wrapped up on Sunday afternoon several more door prize giveaways and finally the trophy presentations.
Mid America Motorworks Funfest for Air-Cooled VW
Story and photography by Cheryl Habing
Mid America Motorworks, the leading supplier of classic Volkswagen parts, accessories and licensed apparel, announced the recipients of a Lifetime Achievement Honor, the Platinum Bug Award at its annual VW Funfest. The awards' 2nd annual recipients, Dean Kirsten, technical editor of Hot VWs Magazine, and Tim Hall, collector and restoration guru of classic VWs from Owensboro, Kentucky were honored for having shown long-term dedication to the preservation and promotion of the Classic Volkswagen hobby for future generations.
The initiative to create the Platinum Bug Award last year came from a letter written by Adam Hanks, grandson of the first year's award recipient David L. Hanks. In the letter, Adam expressed his wish that Mid America Motorworks could somehow honor the dedication his 75 year old grandfather had put into repairing and restoring VW air-cooled classic vehicles over a 55 year career. Having seen the letter, Mike Yager, Mid America Motorworks owner and Chief Cheerleader decided "What better place to recognize someone's undying support of Volkswagen than at the biggest party for VW Fanatics in the country: Funfest!" Funfest for Air-cooled VW, where the award ceremony takes place, is an annual "customer appreciation party" held by Mid America Motorworks on their campus in Effingham, IL. "Funfest for Air-Cooled VW is our way of saying 'Thanks!' to our loyal air-cooled Volkswagen customers and enthusiasts" said Yager.
The two day event has grown steadily over the years to host more than 8,000 enthusiasts, and over 1,300 VWs who come together for a whirlwind weekend of special displays, a fun judged car show with awards, swap meet, tech seminars, product demonstrations, ladies' events, kids' events and more. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Last Oval Window Beetle, the vehicle was the featured marquee of the Funfest for Air-Cooled VW, with a special Oval Window display in front of the MY Garage Museum. Oval window Beetles were only produced from 1953-57. This year's event drew attendees from 25 states including New York and Hawaii. "We flew over from Hawaii to St. Louis where we store our bus and drove from there. This is our first time at the event. We are definitely coming back next year!" Says Hawaiian native, Dale Head. Mike Yager led over 200 VWs in his 1974 Thing on a Saturday evening road tour, through the country side.
The tour ended up at a vintage 1940's art deco theater to watch a private screening of the Disney movie "Herbie Fully Loaded". The movie was an appropriate choice as OLE' Demolition Herbie, an original movie car from "Fully Loaded" made its official debut at Funfest. The car is owned by Dale Persch. Also on display was Shaking Herbie and Spinning Herbie from "Herbie Goes Bananas" and Modified Street Herbie from "Herbie Fully Loaded", all owned by Mike Yager. Modified Street Herbie also made the road trip. As provider of most of the Volkswagen parts for "Herbie Fully Loaded", the Mid America Motorworks brand appears in the movie numerous times.
Movie goers were asked to count the number of times Mid America Motorworks appears in the movie and then enter that number to win a $50 gift certificate. With a correct number of 17, 6-year old Chloe Warf, of Mattoon, Illinois won. Chloe made the road trip in her families' 1974 Super Beetle. Funfest attendees flocked to the Funfest Swapmeet area, where over 30 swappers offered everything from original fasteners to entire VWs. Every swapper attending left with a much lighter load than when they came. A happy group from Desoto, Missouri brought two trucks and a trailer loaded with used parts and left empty. Piles of memorabilia, toys, and parts traded hands and a number of Air-Cooled classics left with happy, new owners.
Some of the event's other highlights were:
customers' Oval Window Beetles
Plans are already in the works for the next Funfest For Air-Cooled VW, set for May 31st & June1st. Next years' theme will celebrate the 10th annual Funfest and honor the Manx Dune Buggy along with its venerable creator, special guest Bruce Meyer. To register for next year's event, submit a nominee for next year's Platinum Bug Award, or to receive Mid America Motorworks' free, full-color catalog of parts and accessories for Air-Cooled Volkswagens, visit www.mamotorworks.com/acvw or call (800) 500-1500.
June Jitter Bug
Each and every summer a there is an event that attracts Volkswagens from all over southern Ontario and the northeastern U.S. I'm talking about the June Jitter Bug VW show that is held in Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada. Niagara Falls is known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World, but is getting to be known as the yearly meeting place for hundreds of Volkswagens. This year's event started off Saturday night with a huge cruise past the world famous Niagara Falls. After the cruise was finished, Volkswagen owners hung out together and exchanged stories and envied glances into the wee hours. On Sunday morning Volkswagens were quickly ushered into their parking spots in the middle of scenic Firemans Park. Out came the sun umbrellas, lawn chairs and glass cleaner, as the crowd settled in for the day's activities.
The JJB is a show that appeals to a wide variety of Volkswagen owners. Despite its name, the June Jitter Bug attracts Buses, Ghia's, Dune Buggies, Things, Sand Rails, and both air and water-cooled Beetles. The beauty of this show is that the action never stops. There's a draw every few minutes, followed by the Engine Tear Down contest, VW Hood pull, Bus and Beetle stuff, and of course, the "Clutch Eater", which is a giant teeter - totter for cars. The object is to drive your VW up one side and try to balance it 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 makes you have to go in reverse. This sequence happens back and forth for about a minute, and then someone else tries. Only a few have ever mastered this rocking challenge. The winner receives a great prize for his or her Volkswagen, a new clutch. And believe me, you need it after this.
This was the first year for Peoples Choice judging of the competitors' vehicles. Entrants in the show were given a list of three classes to judge. You picked your three favorites in each category, and when the votes were tallied, the prizes were awarded.
With the release of the new Disney movie, Herbie: Fully Loaded, this was the year of the Herbie. John Spironello, owner of John's Bug Shop, brought his two racing Herbies to the show. Equipped with wheelie bars and a huge whale tail on the rear, these air-cooled, VW powered racecars regularly embarrass the V8's on the track. Barry Kory also showed up with his tribute to the famous number 53. Kory's 1973 Beetle started off as a gift for his wife, but wound up wearing red, white and blue racing stripes, and the circle 53 logo, that is known all over the world. Children lined up for a picture with Herbie and a chance to get behind the wheel.
Attendance this year topped 250 Volkswagens, with some of them traveling as far as five hours to get in on all the fun. Most everyone stayed until after the last trophy was given out and then the June Jitter Bug was over for another year.
If you love Volkswagens and fun in the sun, start making your plans to attend the 20th Annual June Jitter Bug!
Well the cooler air seems to have finally moved on and that means prime air cooler season is here. Camp Jordan in Chattanooga Tennessee was the site for Bug-A-Paluza 7, put on by Scenic City Volksfolks. These are a bunch of great guys and they really put a lot of effort into a great show. There were beautiful cars, great food, and plenty of sweet deals in the vendor's area. The weekend consisted of valve cover races, a paint-a-bug area, a mini drive-in movie Saturday night, and hippy races among other fun. For anyone who has never seen a hippy race, it consists of two teams pushing their busses about 50 yards or so. It was hilarious.
The awards portion was kept just as lively on Sunday. Trophies, shaped like connecting rods, were given out above and beyond the best in class and such included "You need therapy", which went to a guy who put a Dodge motor in the front of his bug and decked it out like a '32 Roadster, also there was the "You drove that from where?". The winner of the "Longest drive" went to a couple from Las Vegas who left a week earlier to arrive on time for the show. Keep in mind they made this trip in an all original '62 Bug.
The cars included everything from Rat to all original. One fellow brought his all original '51 that he acquired while in the Netherlands. On sight were also some beautiful busses and Ghias. By far though, one of the best Porsches in the area showed up Sunday for the judging.
All in all it was an awesome weekend of some of the best cars the East Coast has to offer, set in beautiful park, and full of great people. This is a show that gets bigger every year with no sign of letting up. If you make one show each Spring, this is it. See you next year!
20th Anniversary Volkswagen Spectacular
photography by Lee Noonan
Hundreds of Australian Volkswagen enthusiasts traveled over 500 miles to attend the 20th Anniversary Volkswagen Spectacular, which was held on the weekend of July 31st to August 1st.
On the Saturday morning, this small coastal town of Nambucca Heads was alive with the sounds of many Volkswagens including many air Cooled models, filling the main street, which previously was closed to normal traffic. The main street is then closed from 10:30am till 12:30pm with 80-90 Volkswagens of all kinds on show for everyone to see. During this time, only the tops of Kombis and Busses can be seen due to the amount of people flocking to view the Volkswagens.
There were two Herbies this year plus a contingent of Volkswagen powered Trikes amongst the numerous split window type 2s, type 1 Beetles, type 3s, T25s and type 4s along with 2 New Mexican classic Beetles. These Beetles cannot be road registered in any Australia state, very nice to own & show, but not to be driven.
At 1230pm the Volkswagens make a noisy retreat back to the Valla Beach Tourist Park about 5 miles away, where a swap meet is in progress all afternoon. There is a dinner dance that night at the park. Sunday morning the show and shine cars get ready for the judges plus the swap meet continues until late in the afternoon.
Many of the VW owners stay at the park all weekend, while others stay for a week or more. The sad thing is, this is the last Volkswagen Spectacular to be organized by the same husband and wife team.
But the good news is that the mayor of Nambucca Heads has guaranteed it won't be the last VW spectacular to be held. Lets hope they will continue the tradition that is the Largest VW Event in Australia.