So “long time listener, first time caller” goes the spiel folks use to describe their first time attending an event or trying an activity. Ok, so maybe I’m the only one who uses that phrase. Anyhoo this was my first time attending VAG Fair. Shortly after purchasing my Golf R (numerous pictures abound on this site) I began looking for the VW community, check that box. Next, I began seeking out events it organizes, check that box. WITW (Wookies in the Woods), VAG Fair, Waterfest, H2O, Fastivus, and a few other shows came to the top of the list. To date, I’ve attended WITW, Waterfest, and now I can claim VAG Fair. Just a quick word about the other 2 events, both were great and for different reasons so check them out!
VAG Fair is a two location event, with the first date being held in Maine, and the second in Pennsylvania. I attended the PA event this past Sunday. It has everything you could ask for if your into the VAG (Volkswagen Audi Group) lifestyle, anyone who likes cars, fancies Euros or has any amount of appreciation for rolling art and/or likes to drive.
I met up with members of the Autobahn Allianz car club in a retail parking lot North of Baltimore. We then proceeded in a convoy with 8 of their cars to the show. We also met some members of Audizine that joined the convoy for the 90 mile drive up I-83 to York.
Upon arrival I found row after row of Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Porsche, and even some JDM examples (Lexus-STI’s) filling the fairgrounds. I didn’t make an effort to record the total number, but something north of 200 cars in attendance seemed likely. And that wasn’t counting any Euros in the parking lot of which there were many.
One of the very first things I discovered during a first encounter with an attendee of this event; how little I really know about the generations/evolutions/details about each of the Audi and Volkswagen products. It’s humbling, and at the same time very cool. Literally there are no end to the number and depth of rabbit holes you can seek out in a group of gear heads of any stripe, and especially so in the Euros crowd.
The very next thing I noticed was how incredibly friendly people were, and how wide the demographic swath is for people who own these sports cars, transporters, camper vans, hatchbacks, wagons, pickup trucks, and everything in between. It’s not one type of person, but everyone. Also a cool fact. Something many car subcultures can claim as well. That’s cool.
The third thing I noticed is that the concessionaires did not accept plastic. Note to self, stock up on cash beforehand. After those three revelations I acclimated myself, and was overwhelmed at the sheer number of interesting cars. I decided I needed to start in the shallow end of this automotive pool and wade in. I latched on to 2 other folks from the morning convoy, and tried to absorb as much as I could without revealing how little I know about cars…the sum total of which I do not know could fill a public library containing many leather bound tomes of nothingness. But back to the story, I continued my journey into the car pool with two Volkswagen enthusiasts. They began rapid firing between them throwing out letter and numerical model combinations as we passed each vehicle mentioning the model of the wheels, any exterior body modifications, whether it had been available in the North American markets or strictly Europe, relevant color codes, and if the hood was up any and all engine data. Wow, I was getting a crash course! And the interesting thing to me was that it wasn’t contrived or exaggerated to puff themselves up, they were simply car guys, and I wasn’t yet familiar with this particular dialect of car, but I knew the root language. It was only a matter of time before I was able to contribute to one of the discussions. I walked along with the two for another 2-3 rows, and then we sort of went our separate ways each being drawn to different vehicles. We’d meet up later for lunch, and regroup. And even though we spent 5 hours at the show it seemed like a much shorter span of time.
While I was busy exploring the many facets of the show: Madness on the Midway (place of honor for those cars of near perfection), parts dealers, Volkswagen of America booth and lineup of current models (some were customized quite nicely), food vendors, and aftermarket vendors I nearly lost sight of one of the biggest events of the show, and that is the judging of the cars. Whose owners entered one of several classes and who spent hours detailing their cars before and after traveling to the show. Now I parked in the infield with the rest of my convoy, but my R was not entered for judging nor was it remotely clean or show worthy. Still, more than one person walked up and asked me something about the car.
Throughout the day I met others from the convoy, and learned more about their interests, and what got them into the marque they drove. And I discovered we all share one common gene, cars. As a group we appreciate the various models, mods, focus on doing more than commuting as just transportation, purpose of design, and the unyielding interest in driving/owning more than one car.
It would have been difficult to leave that day save for the fact that I had been standing under open skies, and walking for many hours. At first it was overcast, but eventually sun made an appearance then deciding to stick around which made it a welcome relief to start the engine and crank the A/C. I drove home in a 3 R convoy with two other Golf R’s which was fun until we began peeling off one by one after which I just found myself surrounded by traffic. Oh well, return to reality. Now I’m just waiting until the next show!