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14 August 2009

There was a celebration of VAG last Saturday at the fairgrounds in charming York, Pennsylvania. Local residents may have been a bit confused watching a seemingly endless parade of Audis and Volkswagens streaming into town, but organizer Cory Sterling knew exactly what he was doing.

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This was year three of VAG Fair, which is arguably the most laid-back of the larger east coast enthusiast shows. The nature of VAG Fair is no accident. Sterling, of Euro Auto Source, envisioned one huge backyard BBQ with several hundred of his closest friends and that’s exactly what he’s pulled off. Bring your grill, your beer, your kids, your dog, whatever you want, and just have a great time. Guests were happy to oblige and spent the warm August afternoon drinking, snacking, hanging out and enjoying the Euro scenery (minus the rather vocal shirtless guy at the dunk tank)! Fortunately the music of the day was fun and diverse; Poe and Salt-n-Pepa were part of the day’s soundtrack and maybe not-so-surprisingly, it was easy to look around and see many an enthusiast mouthing the words to “Shoop”!

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Of course plenty of vendors were on hand for those who had money burning a hole in their pocket. Companies like AP Tuning, Ross Tech, 8380, Dubkorps, Baak2Basics, NGP Racing, 4Ever Kustoms, Orchid Euro, AWE Tuning, Din. Euro and more were offering great show-day specials. It didn’t matter if one wanted a chip, a shirt, some LEDs or a set of euro bumpers; just about everything was available.

Along with hand-picked music and vendors, Madness on the Midway featured the best of the best; five cars personally selected by Cory Sterling. The winner received cash and an automatic spot in H20’s Top Dawg competition. Nick Pasquale’s 1984 Rabbit took the prize this year. Other category winners included Alex Long’s MkIII Jetta GLX – Best Daily, Mark Caropreso’s ’04 Turbo R32 – 1st: R32 Mild, Vaughn Cordell’s MkIII 2.0T Jetta – 1st: MkIII Wild and Dana Kerrigan’s 2002 New Beetle Turbo S – 1st: New Beetle Mild, just to name a few.

When asked what his favorite part of the show was, the show’s organizer had to take a moment to think. “The whole thing was my favorite,” he finally replied. “But if I had to pick one thing it would be setting up in the morning, with the mist coming over the field and the anticipation of what’s about to happen. There’s nothing like it.”

Approximately 700 cars were in attendance, which is about 225 more than last year. This show may be toddler age, but it just keeps on growing and leaving its mark. One huge example of enthusiast comradery happened just outside the gates to the fairgrounds. Judd Sipe, Jason Beim and Devin Winand picked up a dubber in distress and took the car back to Cory’s shop. During show hours they replaced a master cylinder without a second thought and the enthusiast made it all the way back to Ocean City without a hassle. Cory wanted to thank those three specifically and also H20 International promoter Jay Shoup, all of the contributing vendors, his Mom, his Dad (for being such an inspiration through the years), his friends and his family. “They know who they are.”

The old adage, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” applies completely to VAG Fair. Next year expect more of the same laid-back, backyard BBQ fun. “I want the show to keep getting bigger and for people to keep having a good time,” Cory said. Based on VAG Fair’s history, that will certainly not be an issue.




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