While we sponsor a number of different shows every year, there are a few that we look forward to more than others and H2O International is one of them. The event was originally held as an annual get-together for the then New York metro area based Club H20. H20 International (H20i) is today run by former Club H20 president Jay Shoup. The show has migrated to just outside of Ocean City, MD and evolved into one of the top East Coast enthusiast events to be found. Unlike some of the other large East Coast events, H20 is all about the show and all about the party. There’s no dragstrip or autocross, and attendees don’t seem to mind that fact one bit. The vendor area isn’t as big, but enthusiasm and turnout this year was huge.
Perhaps part of the appeal for attendees is the venue. Ocean City in September is off-season, so an affordable place to stay. Beach houses rented by clubs or groups of owners are a great way to keep the partying out of hotels, and the local law enforcement was amazingly tolerant perhaps jaded by more raucous events that come through during the summer. Ocean City’s finest are quite accustomed to Spring Breakers, Senior Weekers and Harley Bike Weekers. The intricacies of keeping a bunch of auto enthusiasts in check is no big deal to local police, making less headaches for attendees and show organizers alike.
While DubAudi Gruppe in the New York area has been running their annual Dag Ball Rally for several years now, we decided to tag along this year and were blow away by the more than 180+ cars that participated in the caravan down to the show. Our friends at VW were nice enough to send along a Golf V R32 for the event which always makes things more interesting. The DubAudi guys did a great job trying to keep the relative chaos of all those cars under control despite interference from state and local police that were interested in having over a 150 cars parked in their jurisdiction.
Being one of the show season finales, H2O is much more laid back and attendees seem to just be a lot more laid back taking in the cars, show and general atmosphere of hanging out with several thousand VW and Audi owners for a weekend. Like always there were some amazing cars on display, but H2O being more of a show and shine event and less of a hardcore judged show seems to attract more people interested in displaying their car even if it isn’t a concours winner which we think is the way to go. The Big Ass BBQ on Saturday was a great place to hang out and catch up with old friends. On Saturday night dubbers could be found everywhere from the Go-Cart track to the main strip cruising along while crowds of people line the streets cheering on the occasional burnout or two.
Volkswagen was in attendance at this years show and Helga of “Un-Pimp My Ride” commercial fame was also on hand taking pictures with show goers, signing autographs and generally having a good time.
Like no other event, H20i is a relaxing way to put a close on the summer event season. Renting a beach house with friends and relaxing over a beer (yes, drinking is allowed at the Ocean Downs horse track venue) while ogling other enthusiast-owned cars is a fine way to spend an autumn weekend. Jay and Penny put on a great show as usual and we’ll definitely be there next year.
|For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums to the left.|