Event Coverage: South Florida GTG 14

VWvortex readers often complain that the VW enthusiast scene has become too commercialized over the years. Our scene has grown exponentially over the past six or seven years, and in many ways we are victims of our hobby’s popularity. More enthusiasts mean more businesses looking to profit from us, along with bigger and more financially motivated events. Luckily, though, the true spirit of VW enthusiasm still matters to people like South Florida’s own Lou Romero, Rick Romero, Nate Santa Maria, Justin Miller, Drew Zoeller, Jose Siera de Leste, and Jose Luis Monge. Each year these seven VW nut-jobs, along with an army of over 50 volunteers, manage to put together a massive party/tribute to any VW owner willing to make the winter trek to beautiful South Florida. Their annual event is called the South Florida Get-Together (SFL-GTG) and February 25, 2006 marked its 14th affair.

For all intent and purposes, the SFL-GTG has come to be considered the anti-VW/Audi show, but not because the event is not in support of VW and Audi owners, but rather because it’s come to stand for being the exact opposite of what people have learned to expect from a big VW/Audi show. Hell, the SFL-GTG isn’t even a show at all – there’s no judging, trophies, burn-out competition, or bikini contest. No, the SFL-GTG is exactly what its name implies – a big, beautifully organized, get-together.

Don’t get us wrong – there’s a definite need for the big money-driven VW/Audi shows throughout the year, and we look forward to each and every one of them. We’re just saying it’s refreshing to also have events like the SFL-GTG mixed in as well. A little equilibrium, if you will.

This year’s event marked a new location for the event, but not because the old location was lacking in any way. The fact of the matter is that last year’s hurricane season played havoc with the old Markham Park venue and when it came time to plan for the ’06 event, the SFL-GTG organizers hustled to find a back-up venue. Hialeah’s Amelia Earhart Park was secured and proved to be a fine second choice. Lots of room, easy access and the event’s famous “all you can eat $5 BBQ” made things very user-friendly, but higher fuel prices and iffy weather forecasts contributed to a lower turnout compared to last year’s event. Still, 500+ cars and over 1,200 people made for a very impressive event and the weather did cooperate, with partly-sunny skies and temps nicely in the mid-70s.

Lots of MkV GTIs and Jettas, along with a few B6 Passats were in attendance, but each year there seems to be fewer and fewer older cars showing up. Still, there was plenty to see, from already-modded MkV GTIs to Mk3 VR6 Cabbies to a Phaeton with 20” BBS LMs to a nice assortment of air-cooled cars (can you say “negative camber?”).

As the event is free to all (the park charged $1 to enter), it’s the SFL-GTG sponsors that help make it all possible. Title sponsors Gunther VW and Wolfcars were in attendance, as were the other event sponsors, Euro Auto Tuning, JL Audio, Unforgettable Sound & Performance, Forge Motorsport, and D&N Performance. Each sponsor brought a few noteworthy cars along with them and really added to the event.

Our tireless heroes are already on the job in setting up next year’s event and we’re already told the date is good to go – Saturday, February 24, 2007. They’re hoping to bring us all back to Markham Park, ’07 hurricane season permitting. Keep an eye on www.sflgtg.com for more info.

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