Waterfest: drag racing and other hoonigans

Drew with VW

Volkswagen tries to stop by as many of the big German car shows in the US as possible, and they let me tag along. So far this year, I’ve visited several regions of the country to attend shows like Southern Worthersee, Wuste, WaterWerks and, as of this last weekend, Waterfest.

Many of the other events have show and shine, limbo, and sound-off competitions, but what made Waterfest unique was the action. Last weekend’s show was held at a motorsports park in Englishtown, New Jersey, and competitions included drag racing, burnouts, autocross, and, of course, the show and shine. The most exciting part was watching two MKIII Golf models run two side by side sub-ten second quarter miles!

In addition to the competitions, there were a mile of exhibitors showing their latest packages and much more.

While many of the attendees watched the racing action and talked to various vendors, I enjoyed perusing the parking lots. This area is treated as a gallery setting for V-dub owners; they proudly stand next to their prized possessions, telling tales of how they came to own it and their different plans over ownership, and they get ideas from others’ vehicles. Common end results of this “art walk” are new friendships and endless witty banter.

Volkswagen arrived with a gigantic trailer carrying the latest models and accessory packages, and was prepared to give away collectable posters, folding chairs, and customized dog tags all weekend. Additionally, VW held a raffle for winners to receive a professional photograph of their vehicle in the VW Director photo booth. I spoke with several owners while their cars were being photographed and was surprised to hear that many drove several hours in order to make it out, from as far north as Montreal and as far south as Georgia.

The last observation I’ll make is the first thing I notice at each gathering: VW fans have a great sense of humor. From the stickers, license plates, and t-shirts to the shameless self-deprecation, even the most dignified will find themselves blushing at some of the displays. A few of my favorites included a Rabbit in the parking lot that had a large carrot coming out of the hood, a dog sporting a blingin’ VW logo from his collar, and a Euro plate that read “HOONIGAN.”

If you haven’t been able to make it out yet this year, there are still more shows remaining, including Das Laufwerk in New York, Wolfsgart in Vermont, and H20i in Maryland.

Leave a Comment