2015, Mar - Apr

It's Show Time! 

By Tom Janiszewski

Chicago area resort will host 60th VWCA Convention in June

While much of the country is deep into winter, the Northeast Illinois Volkswagen Association has been progressing on this summer’s 2015 convention, the club’s 60th, and it’s shaping up to be an event you won’t want to miss. You may recall in the last Autoist that plans for Friday and Saturday were still forming. Those plans have been made, and the event has shaped up to what will be a weekend full of events.


After dinner, we’re headed to the Cascade Drive-In for a movie under the stars! It’s too early to say what the movies will be, but we can promise it will be a double-feature. The first film is generally family-friendly while the second feature may be closer to an “R” rating than “PG.” Very few drive-in theaters are left, and we’ll be lucky enough to be just minutes away from one of only two remaining drive-ins in the Chicagoland area. Folks these days bring lawn chairs and sit by their car to watch the film, but plenty still sit in their cars too. 

All are encouraged to participate in the membership meeting planned for Saturday morning. There’s no better place to hear what lies ahead for the Volkswagen Club of America, and it’s the perfect place for everyone to share ideas on future club activities and events. A brief trustees meeting will follow.

Once the meetings have wrapped, it’ll be time for the photo-scenic rallye! Never heard of a photo-scenic rallye? No worries – many planning the convention hadn’t either, but once they heard what it was, it was a unanimous decision to have one. Each team has a driver and at one navigator (passengers can ride along too)! Vague (yet decipherable) directions are given to nearby locations. 

Along with the directions, each team is also given a series of photos and a question about the subject of each photo. The goal is to find the object at the location and answer the question, which cannot be answered simply by looking at the photo. It’s encouraged that each team has either a smartphone with a camera, or a digital camera as you’ll need to return with some photographic evidence of your own! The area in which the convention is being held is quite scenic and full of local history, so it’s really going to be something you won’t soon forget!

You may remember reading last time about the plans for the banquet dinner, but if not, here’s a reminder: We’re going to Portillo’s! Portillo’s is a casual, privately owned chain in the Chicago area that serves award-winning Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, burgers and more. 

Sadly, it will be impossible for NIVA to include everything Portillo’s offers at the banquet, but you will be able to enjoy their three most popular entrees: Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef and pasta. Odds are, you’re gonna want to stop there again on your way home ’cause there is no way to plan a banquet menu consisting of every delicious item they make, and you’ll have no trouble collecting suggestions from the locals on what to have when you go back.

During the banquet, special awards will be handed out, including the Woodbury Dunn Safety Award, the John and Jean Eberle Award for the best local-club newsletter, and the Wolfsburg Trophy to the most active local chapter. In addition, individual awards will be handed out to the one person who’s been to the most conventions, the one who drove the farthest in a Volkswagen to THIS convention and to the person attending with the oldest Volkswagen.

Sunday is the convention’s grand finale: NIVA’s Bugfest Volkswagen Show at nearby Fox Valley Volkswagen. This show features everything one expects at a VW show – lots of cool cars, plenty of fellow VW enthusiasts to meet and a swap meet. This is one of the shows that kicks off the car show season in the Chicago area. NIVA always does a great job making this event a summertime highlight, and the club is excited to make it part of the 2015 convention.

We are excited about our headquarters location at Pheasant Run Resort. The resort has lots of experience hosting auto-enthusiast events, so all will feel at-home. We’ll have our own section of parking, so those who want to hang out by the cars will feel like they are at a local show-n-shine. Pheasant Run is a complete resort. To learn more about the facility, visit pheasantrun.com.

The accommodation rate is $89 per night plus tax and $9.95 resort fee. Reservations can be made right now! You must make your own reservation by calling Reservations at (630) 584-6300 by Friday, May 29, and be sure to mention you’re with the Volkswagen Club of America group to ensure you get the special room-rate. All reservations must be guaranteed and accompanied by a first night room deposit or guaranteed with a major credit card.

Ready for more good news? NIVA has announced that the convention will be a little easier on the family’s wallet: kids age 12 years and under are just $15 each! Adults are $40 each. The registration fee includes the Saturday night banquet, the photo-scenic rallye, snacks and beverages in the headquarters’ hospitality suite on Friday and Saturday and discounted car show entry on Sunday. If you provide an email address when you register for the event, NIVA can email you a confirmation email.

This is the last Autoist before the convention, so don’t delay much longer in registering for the event. Please fill out the accompanying registration form, sent it in with your check and call the resort to make your hotel arrangements. 

It’s going to be a very memorable weekend, and the Northeast Illinois Volkswagen Association is looking forward to seeing you!  VWCA

Tom Janiszewski | volkstom@sbcglobal.net


  • JACK LYMAN: Former Club official and life-long VW enthusiast dies at age 78.
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  • Driver's Seat - VW news & views by Cliff Leppke
  • Frontdriver – Richard G. Van Treuren
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  • Retro Autoist - From the archives
  • Parting Shot - Photo feature
  • VW Toon-ups - Cartoon feature by Tom Janiszewski



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