June 10 (afternoon) - Beetle Funfest 2000 Day 1
Click here for an aerial photo of Beetle Funfest 2000.

Today was the first day of the car show....officially a "Celebration of the Beetle Cabriolet", but of course there was every kind of Volkswagen there.

I pulled in the front gate and they directed me towards a long line of all sorts of Volkswagens. I walked to the registration booth. I had pre-registered to attend the show so they had a package of information with my name printed on it. Inside was a lapel pin, dashboard plaque, one of their catalogs, $10 worth of free meal tickets...five dollars for Saturday, five for Sunday, and a T-Shirt size extra large as I had requested when I pre registered....not bad eh? It was really a time for this company to appreciate their customers. The whole thing was very well organized....there were people directing the parking. There were circles of orange spray paint painted on the grass where they were to park each car for the show. It was really pretty impressive. Food booths, drink carts, porta-pottys, hand washing stations, they thought of everything.

So I pulled up to my spot, parked and opened the sliding van door to get out. As my foot hit the ground a guy about 50 in a tie dyed shirt and jeans began talking shop to me.
"So do you have the air cooled engine in this one?" he asked right off.
"Yeah, It's and '82 model," I replied, "it doesn't go up hills very fast, but it's a lot of fun."
"Uh huh." he agreed, "that's my '76 Westfalia right there." He pointed to a green camper bus, right in front of mine in the next row. It was in amazing shape, no rust anywhere.
So we talked about the pros and cons of Westfalia ownership for a while. He was hardly an old burn out...rather a guy that just thought a tie dye was the thing to wear when he drove his camper bus to a car show.
In talking to a lot of bus owners there are pretty much two categories that the owners seem to fall into. The first category....Old burnouts that had one in the late 60's and still have one today. The second category was young kids who wish they would have been alive so they could have been hippies and owned one in the late 60's. Then there's me.....and I'm not sure exactly which category I fit into. The two photos at the bottom of this page are of a gathering of buses. This crew travels the country together...four buses. The green one was especially interesting, notice the high top on it...how'd ya like to drive that in a crosswind? The guy next to that one was named Brian. I talked to him for a while as he took a swig from the bottle of Anchor Steam Beer he always seemed to have in his hand as he looked at me with a perma-smile. It was quite a sight to see them role in together...and oh yes, they seemed to fit into the second category mentioned above. Some of them had dogs, others actually had kids.

One of the most interesting cars was a 1942 German Army Kublewagen...basically the German army's version of the Jeep Willys. This guy had paid very close attention to every detail. The oil filter even had a "Wermacht" lable. It won an award at the end of the day.

Check out the picture with my van, a new black beetle....a new turbo diesel actually. The owner got 53 miles per gallon on the way to the show...on those flat Illinois roads! And a two tone Brown Camper that the guy had put more than 288,000 miles on...just keep changing that oil.

While walking around talking to different people I found that there were a lot of people there....entire families with like 3 or 4 or 5 cars at the show. The picture here with the kid sitting in the chair on the roof of the camper bus was a member of one such family. The purple buggy next to his bus was his sister's and the purple bug next to that was his dad's. I walked on.

I came across a sight that almost brought tears to my eyes. The blue beetle convertible hereis identical to the beetle convertible my dad bought in 1976, same year, same color. It was the car my brother learned to drive and drove for his first few years with license, as well as the car I learned to drive and drove through high school. We sold ours in mid 1992. It was great to talk to the owners, of course I told them my story. A father son duo sat next to the car. The son owns it, his dad just came to the show with him.
"Never sell it." I said.
"I won't." the kid assured me.

There was a whole other group of people who were there to seriously compete in the car show. These are the guys in this picture with the boxes of cleaning supplies who are constantly wiping and polishing their cars. Some of these guys had lines of trophies in front of their cars from other shows they had attended, all sorts of accessories on their cars. Then right next to one of those guys might be a rusty old bug someone else drove. It was funny.

There was just all sorts of stuff. There is a picture below of a bus that someone got tired of going slow in. The engine compartment is open so you can see the Golf GTI engine they replaced the original air cooled engine with. That kind of thing takes a lot of modification, you can see the cooling fan and radiator added in the back, and do notice the plate...."Think VW". There were some great license plates. "BUG ME" - "BZZZZZ" - "VAN MAN" and on and on.

I bought a bottle of water from the yellow Beetle cooler with the peace signs on it too.

In the late afternoon a storm rolled in and poured rain for about a half an hour. A lot of people left, some stayed inside their cars and waited it out. I stayed and when the rain passed about 80 or so cars lined up for a police escorted cruise out of Effingham and into a little town called Greenup, IL. People came out of their houses to watch the long line of mostly Beetles roll past. Some would wave. Big brothers hit their little brothers as they played that "Punch Buggy" game on the sidewalk....talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time for that game!

In Greenup there was a crew of people dressed in cowboy outfits, or dressed like settlers who greeted us and offered us white beans and ham cooked over an open fire, iced tea and lemonade. We were treated very well actually. They put on some "Old West" reenactments that basically consisted of a few guys going out between some trees, drawing their guns full of blanks and shooting. A few would fall down, the crowd would clap....a good time was had by all. They had a raffle of prizes donated by local Greenup businesses. I was lucky enough to win a make-up set. Eye shadow, liner, lipstick, all sorts of stuff....I gave it to one of the ladies sitting at the picnic table next to me.

I looked at the time and saw that I was late for another engagement. On Friday I heard an advertisement on the radio...."Saturday, Saturday, Saturday.....Dirt track racing at the Charleston Speedway! Qualifying starts at 4:00pm!!! Racing starts at 7:00!!!! 6 miles west of Charleston...the Charleston Speedway!!!!"
I've always wanted to see this sort of thing....local guys on a local dirt track. I was about to meet the real America face to face. I have set it up here as a separate entry...please, do go on to take a look at the evening of June 10th Americana so thick you could cut it with a knife.


1942 Kübelwagen - Germany's primary militry vehicle in WW II.

My Westy with a new Beetle, and 70's Campmoblie.

Just like my first car.

Serious about the car show.

GTI Golf engine installed in an old Westfalia.

The 'coolest' cooler I've ever seen.
 
Bus convoy... Brian here to the left.
 

 
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