Numbers in on 2012 VW Funfest

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Published on June 11 2012 2:14 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

(EVEN THOUGH BEETLES PREDOMINATED, THERE WERE PLENTY OF SNAZZY KARMANN GHIAS ON HAND FOR THIS YEAR'S FUNFEST FOR AIR-COOLED VWs)

Some 1,300 Volkswagens and 5,000 enthusiasts from around the world met at Mid America Motorworks in Effingham to celebrate Funfest for Air-Cooled VW 2012. 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 2013 Funfest for Air-Cooled VW, scheduled May 31-June 2.