Volkswagens Converge on Columbus
From the March, 2009 issue of VW Trends
By Tom Hubbard
Volksfest, the second Saturday of August, any year, Columbus, Ohio, is the place to be. Volksfest is a pan-Volkswagen show. That's not a celebration of replaced pans, it's a celebration of all Volkswagens. The new Volkswagens were represented at Byer's exhibit, one of the sponsors. The latest accessoried Volkswagen and the oldest unrestored, proudly sits on the grounds of Watkins Memorial High School. The trophied and the folk painted and precision restorations, share space.
Volksfest is a show for all ages; ages of the Volkswagens and of people. Some are old enough to remember the first Volkswagens in the U.S. Others saw them during World War II. There's the young adult group, anxious to get all the power possible out of their Volkswagen engines ... and stereo systems. Finally, the very youngest crowd is entertained by the DJ with games and prizes throughout the day. The young can also work off energy in the enclosed jumping tent, supervised by an adult.
Food is always great at Volksfest. Host Watkins Memorial High Boosters serve the best food you will find at a Volkswagen show. Lunch included grilled steak and chicken and brat sandwiches, as well as french fries, ice cream, bottled water and soda. Prices are reasonable. Boosters profits go to the athletic fund to support sports expenses for high school athletes. Volksfest has yielded more than $30,000 over the years toward the Booster fund. The Boosters enjoy the show and report they have had no trouble or damage at Volksfest.
Scratch a vintage Volkswagen owner, and you get a story of Volkswagens surviving wars, junkyards, abandonment in barns, city impoundment, lucky finds and former movie star Volkswagens. Driving them is fun, but talking about them rivals the fun of driving. The hot looking Sebring kit attracts police attention, but it's a Beetle underneath. There were several sculptures made from Volkswagen parts, some from body parts, some from mechanical parts.
Rain threatened all day, coming within a quarter mile, but Volksfest was dry all day. Cloudy skys and nearby rain moderated the August heat. The hit-or-miss weather probably reduced show car registration, down to 350 from 410 in 2002.
Everyone liked the new show layout this year. About a third more space was opened up on the Watkins Memorial High campus. Vendors were happy being on the grass lawn of the school, which is cooler than the asphalt parking areas. Also, spectators were routed through the vending area. Vendors like this arrangement because it sends an audience for t-shirts and memorabilia to them. Some were surprised at the size of the show and commented they would be back next year with a larger display.
Eighty Volksfest volunteers (COVVC members) directed traffic, ran the registration and membership tents and generally kept the show moving. About half the volunteers were equipped with two-way radios, facilitating communication around the show site.
Friday night (before the show) is becoming a cherished Volksfest tradition. There's rock, blues and guitar music and singing by accomplished COVVC members. Volunteers are setting up the show and the Watkins Glen football team is setting up the large dining and membership tents. Fifteen camping vans spent the night this year. Hot dogs and drinks are served, and potluck food contributions made for an enjoyable dinner. Watkins Memorial restroom facilities are open Friday night making it a full-service and family fun camping experience. COVVC welcomes anyone to the Friday night preview next year.
DJ Chuck Steele keeps everyone informed and entertained with show announcements, music, and games for kids and adults. The PA system unites the show. Vintage '50s to '70s music fills the air during the day. Show car deadlines, door prize winners and 50/50 winners are announced. Adult and kids games are announced to everyone.
Creeper races are a Volksfest original event. One person rides the creeper while a teammate pushes. The race is slalom out and straightaway return, 30 yards in all. It's finesse negotiating the outbound slalom course, but "power play" on the straight return. Creepers range from stock to highly modified. Racing categories are "professional" and "parent/child." Professional race announcer and COVVC member Mike Fornataro adds drama to the popular creeper races sponsored by member Mike Young.
Overall, Volksfest is a fine day for everyone, from the veteran car exhibitor to vendors, to the public, including tag-along spouses and children. Remember, the second Saturday in August. Any year, Columbus, Ohio and Volksfest is the place to be.
(Class, Number of Entrants)
PEOPLE'S CHOICE - Bob and Barbara Albright, Columbus, Ohio (1967 Deluxe Bus);
BEST OF SHOW - Gregg Kuttnash, Senecaville, Ohio (1956 Coral Red Beetle);
BEST OF SHOW - John Arvan, Athens, Ohio; WATERCOOLED - 1999 Black Jetta
A -New 20 - Stephanie Robinson, Maumee, Ohio, 2002 Snap Orange Beetle;
B -New 5 - Jerry O'Hara, Gahanna, Ohio, 1999 Red with Flames Beetle;
C -Split 1 - Rick Larkin, Greencastle, Indiana, 1951 Model 11G Window;
D -Oval 5 - Greg Kuhnash, Senecaville, Ohio, 1956 Coral Red Beetle Window;
E -Beetle 16 - Mike Young, Columbus, Ohio, 1967 Beige ('58 -'76);
F -Late Btl 18 - Vic Cucbellis, New Castle, PA, 1968 Black Beetle Sedan, '68 +;
G -Beetle 9 - Ted Chaney, Westerville, Ohio, 1958 Tan (Cabriolet);
H -Super 16 - Christine Wilkey, Green Castle, Indiana, 1973 Ravenna (Beetle Cabriolet);
I -Karmann 14 - Aaron Kennison, Dublin, Ohio, 1956 Red/Black (Ghia Sedan);
J -Karmann 12 - Gary Tillis, Proctorville, Ohio, 1972 Green (Ghia Cabriolet);
K -Early Bus - Bob and Barbara Albright, Columbus, Ohio, 1967 Yellow (thru '67);
L -Early Bus 5 - Stark Hughes, Westerville, Ohio, 1966 Gray/Ivory (Camper -'67);
M -Late Bus 8 - Don Capestrain, North Canton, Ohio, 1979 Reef ('68 -'79);
N -Late Bus 21 - Peggy Sue Webb, Vincent, Ohio, 1971 Westfalia (Camper '68 -'79);
O -Vanagon 8 - Tom Hubbard, Galloway, Ohio, 1988 Westfalia Scarlett (All);
P -Type III 5 - Ed Hall, Zanesville, Ohio, 1968 Fastback Brown;
Q -Thing 10 - Shane Klingler, Lima, Ohio, 1973 Orange;
R -Mild 19 - John Hodges, South Charleston, West Virgina, 1966 Bug;
S -Wild 4 - John May, Tillsonburg, Canada (Custom);
T -Special 5 - Paul Krucker, Macedonia, Ohio, 1962 Beetle "Herbie";
U -Kit Cars 8 - Bob Emory, Columbus, Ohio, 1980 Sebring;
V -Off Road 7 - Tim Johnson, Delhi, Ontario, Canada, 1962 Baja;
W -Daily - Mike Wilcox, Strasburg, Ohio, 1967 Beetle Red (Driver thru '67);
X -Daily - Jim Brosnahan, Gahanna, Ohio, 1976 Super Beetle (Driver '68);
Y -Water - Steve Farmer, Mansfield, Ohio, 1985 VW Cabriolet, Cooled '74-'85;
Z -Water 13 - Daren Althouse, Dublin, Ohio, 1991 Golf GTI Red (Cooled '86 -'92);
AA -Water 4 - Johann Kasper, Clinton, Michigan, 1997 Eurovan Camper White (Cooled '93 -e99);
BB -Water 4 - John Arvan, Athens, Ohio, 1999 Jetta Black (Cooled '99 -Present);
CC -Water - Jason Zatrock, Lewis Center, Ohio, 2003 GTI 20th (Cooled Modified);
DD -Porsche - Carl Dewhurst, Columbus, Ohio, 1967 Citroen Red & Non 'VW
The gate gets busy at times,...
The gate gets busy at times, but with 80 orange-vested volunteers, including bicycle volunteers leading cars to their categories, everything goes quickly and smoothly.
Bob Albright won the People's...
Bob Albright won the People's Choice Award and first place in Early Buses with his Microbus Delux, his Yellow Submarine. Sadly, Bob's wife Barbara passed away just before Volksfest. Bob said Barbara had two passions, dance (which she performed and taught) and VWs. The Yellow Submarine was her favorite. She even presented it on stage in her ballet performances.
Don Capestrainwon first place...
Don Capestrainwon first place late Buses with his 1979 Type II Standard Bus. Daughters Mallory, left and Morgan, right are ready to enjoy the ride back to North Canton, Ohio. The Bus is original, with 63,000 miles, automatic and dealer air.
Ted Chaney of Columbus, Ohio,...
Ted Chaney of Columbus, Ohio, won first place in Early Convertibles with his recent acquisition of this 1958 restored Beetle. Ted and his wife Sue have traveled extensively in Europe in his 1954 Beetle, including showing it at Bad Camberg.
Ward Hixon does sculpture...
Ward Hixon does sculpture out of parts. Hixon is a retired, 88-year old, master VW mechanic. Hixon loves Volkswagens even though he was a prisoner of the Germans during World War II. He was treated OK and hospitalized when he was ill as a prisoner.
Volksfest 2003 was a good...
Volksfest 2003 was a good day for this nice lineup of convertibles in the For Sale area. Rain threatened and came within a quarter mile, but never spoiled the day for the convertibles, and crowd.
Rick Larking's first place...
Rick Larking's first place 1951 Beetle had been garaged since 1967 when he found it. He says, "It's a survivor car. It's all original. No one thought it would run, but we backed if off the trailer and it was in good driving condition. It needs cosmetic restoration, which it probably won't get."
Tim Johnson's 1962 Baja won...
Tim Johnson's 1962 Baja won First Place Off Road. It has a full custom cage body on 33-inch tires. Johnson is from Ontario, Canada.
Mark Perri bought his Rail...
Mark Perri bought his Rail Buggy with its canvas wrap, "as you see it." The work had been done when he bought it, including an engine rebuild.
A nice lineup of Westfalias....
A nice lineup of Westfalias. About 15 came early and camped Friday night before the show.
Shane Klingler of Lima, Ohio,...
Shane Klingler of Lima, Ohio, won first place with his 1973 Thing. The previous owner bought two Things, restored one and sold this one to Shane. Shane restored it from a box of parts. He drives it whenever he can, about 95 percent driving, five percent show.
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