EFFINGHAM — The Welcome Fest for Volkswagen enthusiasts drew an estimated 150 vehicles to downtown Friday evening.
The Effingham Tourism Office hosted the event, which was the conclusion of Mid America Motorworks’ Fun Run Road Tour, but only the beginning of its 21st annual Funfest for Air-Cooled Volkswagens.
This year’s highlight included celebration of 50 Years of Herbie the Love Bug.
Jeff Rose of Corbin, Kentucky showed off his version of “Herbie Fully Loaded,” which he created after pulling a 1970 VW Bug that he rescued from some weeds.
“I paid $75 for it, and pulled it out of the weeds,” said Rose, who said the bug didn’t have a motor at the time. “About mid-way through I decided to go with the Herbie look. It was a solid car body-wise when I got it.”
Mayor Mike Schutzbach found his favorite Volkswagen in the mix and selected a 1966 VW Beetle painted a metallic blue-green color.
“This has been in our family since it was new,” said Scott Lutz of Columbia, Missouri. “My uncle bought it in 1965. He went off to the military, but my grandmother took over the payments, like three months after he bought it. So, my grandmother had the car until she passed away in the 1980s.”
Lutz said his dad then took ownership, followed by himself. He said the car had been a biege color originally.
Saturday and Sunday are scheduled with plenty more VW fun stuff, all open to the public. Mid America Motorworks is located at 2900 North Third St., Effingham.
After the parade of many makes and models of VW’s families had opportunities for food from area vendors, activities for kids, live music, and giveaways.
On Saturday, activities begin at 8 a.m. with VW Show, shopping, installations and tune ups; and tours of MY Garage Museum and retail shop; at 10 a.m. is the Welcome Ceremony with Mike Yager and awards ceremony on the small stage.
A partial schedule of events at the Mid America site is as follows:
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Funfest Cantina (beer tent) open, near the food court
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Tie Dye, Kids and Family Zone
Noon, water balloons, Kids and Family Zone
Noon, Exhaust Wars Sound Off, near flagpole
12:30 p.m., low speed slalom race, near flagpole
1 p.m., seminar, “VW Clubs: History, Highlights, Upcoming Shows and More, Q&A,” small stage
2 p.m., seminar, Darryl Auch, “Opening the Bell Housing to Accept the Larger Flywheel,” small stage
2:30 p.m., Southern Illinois SodSlingers, Lawn Mower Races, near the install dome.
3 p.m., seminar, Dr. Darby Milnor, “Tales from the Doctor’s Office,” small stage
3 p.m., People’s Choice Award Ballots Due - Information Booth, Fun Dome
4 p.m., Awards Ceremony - Pit Wall
4:30 p.m., Stein Hoist Contest - Funfest Cantina (beer tent)
5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Bonfire and Open Mic - Near Small Stage
5:30 p.m., Country Style Dinner - near the Food Court (Limited Tickets Available at Registration)
7 p.m., Drawings, announcements - near the small stage
7:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., St. Jude’s 50/50 Raffle Winner announced
7:30 p.m., Darryl’s Custom Engine Giveaway, Parker Snaps Giveaway
8 a.m. to ?, Funfest for Air-Cooled VW Show Field Hours
8 a.m. to ?, Fun Dome Shopping Hours
8 a.m. to ?, Installations and Tune-Ups in the Install Dome
8 a.m. to ?, MY Garage Museum and Retail Store - MY Treasures and Collectibles
8 a.m. to ?, Kids and Family Zone Activities: Inflatables and Paint the Bus