Event Coverage: Volksfest 2005

There’s a special place in my heart for the Harrisburg Area Volkswagen Owners’ Club’s annual Volksfest show held each year in Campbelltown, PA. I grew up in the nearby town of Hershey and my Scirocco and GTI-owning friends and I attended several HAVOC meetings. As I spent my summer days reading VW & Porsche Magazine (now European Car) cover to cover while on some random summer job, I could only dream of the VW enthusiast scene we have today. Now, shows like Volksfest flourish in what was then my own back yard. With that in mind, I couldn’t help but make the trek north to Pennsylvania and my old home town to check out what HAVOC had to offer this year.

The morning didn’t bode well. Though not pouring, it was wet and I questioned whether it was worth the two-hour drive to Campbelltown to see a handful of the most hardcore owners hanging out at the local fairgrounds. Figuring it was a good excuse to drop in and see the parents, I went anyway. What I realized when I got there was just how die-hard the VW scene is in that neck of the woods. The crowd was sizable, the selection of cars better than ever, and the vendor area has continued to grow despite the inclement weather.

Central Pennsylvania is a heavily German area. Some of the locals speak with an inflection that’s referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch, and many of the Amish who still make the local hills their home speak an evolved German dialect. One of the first Volkswagen dealerships set up in the U.S.A. was Autohaus Lancaster, while others like the local H.A. Boyd in nearby Lebanon have a very loyal following. Not surprisingly there seem to be more Volkswagens per capita than you might expect to find in such a rural area.

The show itself is a mix of air-cooled and water-cooled VWs, with only one Audi that we spotted parked in the APTuning booth that displayed APR’s front mounted intercooler for the car. In addition to Lebanon-based APTuning, G&M Performance also had a sizable display with a great-looking widebody Golf III that appeared to be for sale. Numerous other smaller vendors also dotted the field selling a menagerie of new and used parts.

With the scene having grown so much over the last few years, Volksfest is a nice break from tbe big glitz of other shows. It’s an intimate atmosphere, with plenty of friendly people hanging out and talking cars. Should you find yourself near central Pennsylvania next Spring, we highly recommend you stop in for a visit.

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