I went to the 2013 edition of Volksfest, which is – I think – the largest non-judged VW car show in all of Canada. But then again, that claim might be a bit like the Laird Speedway’s claim of being the fastest third-mile, dirt-track oval in the world… they’re both probably one of a kind.
I brought my daughter with me in the “old car,” as we refer to it within the family. I had packed up the car the night before and gotten her booster in the front seat. Since my ’71 VW has no airbags, there’s nothing preventing her from sitting up front. Besides, the back seat was loaded up with boxes of stuff I had hoped to sell at the show.
We gassed up, opened the windows, and made the pleasant, 50-km drive eastward to Embrun, Ontario. On the way, we saw train crossings, farms, silos, and even a stopped police car with its lights flashing. It’s important to show these things to my kids… it makes the car ride more enjoyable.
We arrived at the show, paid the minimal admission of five dollars, and parked under the spruce grove in the park. One thing I noticed right away was that there was less of an effort this year to keep the air-cooled autos separate from the water-cooled ones. Usually, the older Bugs and buses go to the east side of the grove, and the Passats and tricked-out Golfs stay on the west side. There were even a couple of non-VW vehicles in attendance. Maybe it’s the OCD talking, but I prefer to keep things separate—I want the Bugs together so I can take photos of them all lined up.
A friendly neighbour at the show helped me unfold my tent canopy, and I set a table up underneath to show off my wares. My daughter has taken an interest in commerce and wants to start making and selling braided string bracelets. She worked on a couple of them with the hope that she could start selling them next year at Volksfest.
I wandered around a little, and took pictures of the various Bugs and buses. It seemed to me that there may have been fewer of them in attendance than last year, but maybe it’s because they were spread out. One thing that I think is neat is to see old bumpers or deck lids with the plate still attached from the last year that the car was running. One came from a Bug that was last plated in ’68, and another came from a ’64 Type 2. There was a truck plate on the lid, so perhaps the vehicle was one of the pickup-truck variants that were derived from the original bus design. They’re all called Type 2, at any rate.
Mine was the only vehicle with YOM plates, although I did my best to drum up some interest among the people who stopped at my table. I didn’t sell any YOM pairs, but I hadn’t expected to at such a small show. I was more getting the word out than anything else. None of my spare parts sold. Maybe I’ll price them all at a buck and watch them disappear next year.
My favourite vehicle at the show, at first, was a white ’62 Bug—all stock with no chopping or uncharacteristic aftermarket embellishments. It was a lovely car. My own '71 Super Bug is a survivor—it has always been in working order and never been restored, and its 30-year-old paint job is beginning to look tired. It’s a fun car, but not an award winner. “Best looking car on the lot,” said a familiar voice. It was Yves, the fellow from whom I had bought Greta, my Bug, four years earlier. He admired the car fondly as he recalled his own joyous times as its owner. The emotional effect the car had on him was easy to see. If I ever sell Greta for some reason down the road, I’ll have to call him first. It would be only right.
I had promised my family that I’d be back around noon hour, so we had to pack up early. Just as I was thinking about how to go about tearing my site down, a beautiful dark blue ’63 Bug rolled into the field. It was strangely familiar to me—much like a Bug that I saw at the Merrickville show in 2012. They both had Veteran plates –very cool-looking for sure— but the deck lid on this car was stock, whereas the one in Merrickville had visited a body shop and had some louvers tastefully punched into it. I assumed that they were different cars. But in writing this article, I dug up the picture I took in Merrickville last year, and the plate number is the same. Conclusion: It’s the same car, just with the louvered deck lid switched out for a smooth one. A beautiful car, and I told the driver so—I may have paid the same compliment in Merrickville.
My daughter helped me pack up our gear – she’s a big help now that she’s seven – and we grabbed some lunch at the local Tim Horton’s before retracing our route along Russell Road toward Ottawa.