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Aside from the tremendous level of enthusiasm levied toward the Volkswagen and Audi brands, there’s a key reason why Waterfest remains the top event for tens of thousands of owner/enthusiasts who make the trek to New Jersey for the two-day event each July. That reason is consistency. For thirteen years now, Waterfest has provided an exhibition that includes a well-organized show field, large vendor area, autocross event and, more recently, drag racing. Waterfest was always a winner, though thirteen consecutive events makes it a tradition and an icon – a must-see for enthusiasts from all over the country and happening this coming weekend.
Originally begun as an event for owners of water-cooled Volkswagens, the name “Waterfest” was chosen to differentiate it from the many air-cooled VW shows that were more popular thirteen years ago. Waterfest quickly evolved to include fellow VAG brand Audi as many VW owners moved into Audi vehicles over the years and so many of the companies found in the vendor area offer products for both brands.
In the early years, the event jumped around a lot, from community college to community college. Waterfest “oldtimers” might remember the hillside parking lots in Mahwah or the jump across the New York border to Suffern. In more recent years, only New Jersey’s Raceway Park in Englishtown has been able to contain the ever-growing spectacle that the event has become. More recently, Volkswagen themselves have taken part in the event – participation the company plans to continue again this year sans commercial uber pitch-frau Helga.
Organized cruises come in from many far-away locales, while impromptu caravans also form up along the various interstates headed toward the Garden State. For the full experience, plan on attending both the more-relaxed Saturday portion of the event, then the main event on Sunday. In-between, you’ll want to catch the spontaneous gatherings of enthusiasts in parking lots of local hotels and restaurants to ogle cars and meet others in the cool night air. Depending on your perspective, you’ll want to keep an eye out for either exuberant shenanigans or Englishtown’s finest… maybe both.
Also, bring an umbrella in case it rains, and plenty of sunblock and ingestible liquids in case it doesn’t. If you’re not concerned about going broke, also bring plenty of cash. Anybody who’s anybody in the Volkswagen and Audi aftermarket is generally displaying in the large vendor area at the event and it’s easy to drop a paycheck or two on toys for your car.
Fourtitude and VWvortex will be displaying in the vendor area this year, a stand recognizable by a selection of white Volkswagens and Audis. Stop in and say hi, and if you think you have a car that we should consider featuring, let us know at the show or via email ahead of time at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We plan on shooting several feature cars while in town for the show.
And, we’re not the only media on hand. Most major websites catering to VW and Audi tend to display at Waterfest. So too do the print magazines Eurotuner and European Car, while photographers from many of the UK-based enthusiast magazines also tend to cover the show. If you’re looking to have your car discovered by the media, Waterfest is a great place to get yourself out there.
Thirteen years is a long time. If you think about it another way, a kid conceived in the back seat of a VW at Waterfest 1 would now be in middle school. If you remember Waterfest 1, that might make you old. If you were conceived at Waterfest 1, tell your parents to spend less on the car and start saving for college. Also, tell them you want a VW or Audi in a few years when you get your license.
If you haven’t considered checking out Waterfest, perhaps you should. For the enthusiast, you’ll think you’ve come home. For the non-enthusiast, it’ll make a believer out of you yet.
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