With age comes maturity, and Waterfest is no exception. Now in its 21st(!) year, the hotel parties, Chili's get together and other quintessential off site post-game activities now seem like distant memories, as everyone feeling rowdy has the ability to get it out of their system at Afterfest. To put it simply, the event now seems comfortable to completely exist within Raceway Park, and that's a good thing.
As Waterfest gets older, so do many of its attendees. Kids who were once teens with a casual interest in the scene are now fully grown adults, some of which have pockets to match. The result is an increase in the quality and cost of builds on display, like this bagged Audi R8. But big dollar builds aren't just for the higher-end cars.
In fact, many of the cars in attendance represented serious investment from their owners, with the first four generations of Golf and Jetta seeming to have received the most love. Shaved engine bays, forced induction upgrades, expensive multi-piece wheels, fresh paint jobs and interior swaps were all plentiful. Slowly but surely, the North American scene is starting to catch up to a level associated with Europe's best.
Singling out the best 100 by awarding Golden Tickets, Eurokracy's Afterfest highlighted many of these builds in an lot separate from the tradition show area. As the sun went down on Saturday's festivities, Afterfest heated up with much of what the scene used to seek out at hotels and restaurants near Raceway Park- Music, burnouts, and a place to kick back with friends.
Sunday morning came early, and with it came a Heat Advisory from the National Weather Service. As show cars were staged and detailed, the heat index quickly rose to more than 110F, causing more than a few to leave a bit early, or abandon the event altogether. Still, the show field was filled with a number of highly modified Volkswagens that most other shows can only dream about.
While the show grounds are extremely impressive, the large Vendor area could be considered Wateriest's main draw. Manufacturers and Retailers from all over descend on Englishtown each year to show off their latest and greatest, as well as their newest project vehicles. This year saw many debuts, including Orchid Euro's Project Caddy Van , which is currently being chronicled on this very website.
Waterfest 21 also served as the coming out party for our very own Project Golf SportWagen, now featuring Rotiform IND-T wheels and Air Lift Performance suspension, along with a host of Volkswagen Accessories pieces. While it isn't anything revolutionary within the scene, it is uncharted territory for us, so watching the car make friends all weekend was a real treat.
To see all of our full Waterfest 21 gallery, click here .