Login     

2017, Nov - Dec

FLAMING GOOD TIME 

By Shell Tomlin

2017 City of Firsts Oktoberfest, Kokomo, Indiana

To most of us, “Oktoberfest” evokes thoughts of cool, crisp autumn days, “frost on the pumpkins” and the oncoming winter season. Not so this year, when the temperatures were well into the 90s and September was one of the driest in many years. But that didn’t put a damper on the City of Firsts Annual Oktoberfest in Kokomo, Indiana on September 22-23.

Friday featured a pre-event get-together at the Lake Erie & Western Railroad Depot Historic District in downtown Kokomo. VW fans there found a variety of restaurants to satisfy any taste along with music and the usual camaraderie that accompanies every VW gathering.

The main event was the huge Oktoberfest Cruise-In held in Foster Park in the heart of Kokomo on Saturday afternoon. By 2:00 pm, the first of seemingly hundreds of Volkswagens had already begun to fill the park. The cars were show-quality, patina, rat rods, daily drivers, works-in-progress, customs, dune buggies, campers, sand rails – you name it and it was there. And the unique thing about this event was that it was absolutely FREE! Show-car entry, swap spaces and concert in the Performing Arts Pavilion were all free! The VWCA “Traveling Road Show” Information Booth was set up near the Little Caesars trailer, so we took advantage of the extra traffic from the hungry folks lined up for their pizza.

This Oktoberfest is unique (to us, at least) in that it extends well after dark. After our “first rodeo” a few years ago, we began to bring lighting and extension cables in subsequent years. This year, our booth was situated literally inches away from the power center, so we had ample lighting.

We had until dusk to check out all the cars before the music began. The opening act was Alan Kaye as “Joe Cocker,” followed by Zoso, “The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience.” A 30-minute break between acts allowed City of Firsts Event Organizer Garry McNew just enough time to call out the winning numbers for the raffle of dozens of door prizes, all donated to the event. Proceeds of the raffle (100%) supported “The Crossing,” which gives at-risk struggling students an opportunity to become contributing members of the community.

After a good night’s sleep, the 2017 Oktoberfest came to a close with a farewell breakfast in a private room at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. We hated to see it end as we headed for home, but a special thank-you is due to Garry and Sandy McNew and all of the staff at City of Firsts VW Club for organizing this event. There were dozens who managed car parking, registration, membership and regalia sales that will go unnamed in this article. We at VWCA recognize the teamwork and effort needed for an event of this scope and offer our thanks. See you next September in Kokomo!  

Shell Tomlin | VWClub@aol.com

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

  • FOUR DECADES:  Correspondent Richard Van Treuren marks a milestone.
  • AC REPAIR: Creative ways to make a 20th-century frontdriver cool again.
  • AUTOMOTIVE TREASURES:  Klairmont Kollections provides eye candy for enthusiasts.
  • RUST ‘N STUFF:  Some nifty tips for keeping an older VW in good running form.

PLUS OUR REGULAR COLUMNS AND FEATURES:

  • Driver's Seat - VW news & views by Cliff Leppke
  • Frontdriver – Richard G. Van Treuren
  • Small Talk - VW and Audi news - quickly
  • Retro Autoist - From the archives
  • Parting Shot - Photo feature
  • Local Volks Scene - A snapshot of local chapter activities
  • VW Toon-ups - Cartoon feature by Tom Janiszewski

LOGGED-IN MEMBERS CAN SEE THIS ENTIRE AUTOIST ISSUE BY CLICKING ON THE COVER PHOTO ABOVE.

 

 

Autoist Archive

Nov-Dec | 2017
FLAMING GOOD TIME

Hundreds of VWs of every stripe gathered at Foster Park in Kokomo, Ind. for the annual Oktoberfest.

 

Sep-Oct | 2017
62nd VWCA Convention Wrap-up

Members gathered at the throw-back Cascade Drive-in Theater for "Cars 3," part of the VWCA Convention

 

Jul-Aug | 2017
Back To The Future Car

Cliff Leppke's 1983 Scirocco has notched its share of more than 333,000 miles in trips to Road America in Wisconsin. The latest covered about 3,000 miles during a whirlwind vacation excursion.

 

May-Jun | 2017
Swingin' time is in store for members, guests at 62nd annual Club gathering

Augustino's will get members rocking while the NIVA Club will roll out another lineup of VWs at its annual BugFest, part of the VWCA Convention in St. Charles, Ill.

 

Mar-Apr | 2017
Will VW See The Light?

VW once again evokes the memory of the beloved Microbus with its new concept called I.D. Buzz, which created quite a stir at the annual auto show in Detroit. (Photos by Tom Janiszewski)

 

Jan-Feb | 2017
Costly Mistake?

Joe Mayer says he's not out to punish VW over its diesel scandal - he just wanted to make some extra money on a car he thought would be junked. (Photos by Joe Mayer via jalopnik.com.)

 

Nov-Dec | 2016
WATTS OF FUN . . . . . . Meet the new e-Golf

Here's the car that, when you give it a charge, you'll get one back. In VW's first important pivot from its diesel scandal, the e-Golf provides an opening salvo in the carmaker's goal to electrify its fleet.

 

Sep-Oct | 2016
61st Annual Convention

What's an anniversary without a cake? This one didn't go far or last long as Club members enjoyed a variety of activities, including a Sunday car show and picnic, part of the 61st Annual Convention.

 

Jul-Aug | 2016
It's Time To Show Off

A couple of Karmann Ghias are resplendent at the Michigan Vintage VW Club's Festival in Ypsilanti, Mich.  The club held its 29th event in May, while Mid America Motorworks in Effingham, Ill., saluted the air-cooled crowd with a big show in June.

 

May-Jun | 2016
Windfall for TDI owners?

The scam was on as early as 2008, when this Candy White Jetta TDI Clean Diesel model, embellished with green plant matter, was rolled out.  In case anyone had a doubt, VW added the wording "Not a concept car."

 

Mar-Apr | 2016
Lost In Translation

VW CEO Mattias Mueller was in the hot glare of media lights at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, providing the company's latest response to the diesel emissions scandal.

 

Jan-Feb | 2016
VW's Game Plan

VW remains embroiled in a high-stakes game involving government agencies  and hundreds of thousands of owners of diesel models. The company's car on the road of Life has taken a big detour.

 

Nov-Dec | 2015
Engine with a split personality puts VW on the hot seat

The news in September was beyond belief for many VW and TDI enthusiasts: Volkswagen executives admitted that the company intentionally produced cars that violated clean-air laws.

 

Sep-Oct | 2015
Big bites of fun at the 60th VWCA Convention

Doug Narczewshi from Spring Valley, IL, looks over an assortment of water-cooled VWs on display at NIVA's Bug Fest event, part of the 60th VWCA Convention in suburban Chicago.

 

Jul-Aug | 2015
1969 Beetle gets a second chance to adorn the silver screen

Crew members working on the film "The Good Blonde" prepare for a shot on the California coast involving a 1969 Beetle owned by VWCA member and correspondent Lois Grace.

 

May-Jun | 2015
My Mom, the Daredevil

Around 1960, Cliff Leppke had no idea what was in store for him while being ferried about by his mother. Needless to say, his head was up and his eyes were open.

 

Mar-Apr | 2015
It's Show Time!

The Northeast Illinois Volkswagen Association has an activity-packed weekend planned for the 60th VWCA Convention in suburban Chicago.

 

Jan-Feb | 2015
Diesel Memories

Jack Pavie of suburban Philadelphia had to wait several months to get his 1975 Rabbit diesel, one of three models he enjoyed in the '70s and '80s.

 

Nov-Dec | 2014
Golf Lessons: Three new models charge up hatchback lineup

The scene at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Va., where Cliff Leppke and other media members ran the 2015 Volkswagens through their paces.

 

Sep-Oct | 2014
Having fun with miles per gallon

A morning commute for a 2012 Golf TDI has become a test on how high the fuel mileage will end up. It hit a high mark in July.

 

Jul-Aug | 2014
2014 VWCA Convention: Wagons, wagens and more - where the buffalo roam

In the VWCA's 59 years of Conventions, the setting in Hudson, Mich. was unique. Just ask VWCA's Tom Janiszewski, the guy driving the orange 1974 Camper.

 

May-Jun | 2014
New Beetle milestone: Though this 1999 model has shown it's flaws over 15 years and 90,000 miles, it's been a blast to drive

May 25 marks the 15th anniversary of my family's New Beetle ownership experience. It was on that day in 1999 that we took delivery of a brand new red GLS model from Kempthorn Volkswagen in Canton, Ohio.

 

Mar-Apr | 2014
Dune buggy with a twist at the Detroit Auto Show

There's a saying that everything old is new again, and since the New Beetle's production debut in 1998, that has been the car's underlying theme.

 

Jan-Feb | 2014
Back At The Ranch

At northern California getaway, Vernon and his family found plenty of ways to enjoy life