It's totally possible that Daytona Beach is still recovering from the third Annual WinterJAM Weekend that hit town back in February. The Volkswagen lifestyle event organized by Joe Arbucci and Bill Dwyer from VolksVision MediaWerks offers enthusiasts four days of sun, sand, surf and VWs at a time when most of the country is buried in snow.
For this year's event, more than 1000 air- and water-cooled VWs took parts, and 5000 people invaded Daytona Beach to take part in the fun. It's the equivalent of Daytona Bike Week for Volkswagen enthusiasts, but without so many beards or leather.
The event is primarily an air-cooled festival but it's becoming increasingly popular with the water-cooled crowd, as more VW owners grow to appreciate the wonderful atmosphere. In fact, Bill Givney organized the Snowball Rally for this year's event. It was a two-day cruise that started at a rest stop on the I-95 in New Jersey. Stopping overnight in South Carolina, it arrived in Florida on Thursday evening to catch the start of WinterJAM. There was a $25 registration fee for the Snowball, but it included a goodie bag, numbered door sticker, reduced hotel rates and group parking at the event.
Once in Daytona, the weekend kicked off on Thursday night where about 75 VWs assembled in the Hooters parking lot for wings and beer. This would allow them to gather their strength for the following morning, which kicked off with the smell of race fuel and burning rubber as the DubDyno dyno competition and burnout contest was held at Raabe Racing.
Later that night, the scene moved to the new Coke Pavilion at Destinationzaytona for the third annual BarBcruise. With hundreds of VWs in attendance and a performance by the Dive Bar Stalkers band, the Friday night event is growing in stature each year.
The weekend kicked into top gear on Saturday, with three different events running simultaneously at two locations. The OstKuste Transporter Treffen and the Daytona Longboard Classic took place at the Daytona Bandshell & Oceanfront Park. More than 150 VW buses gathered along the seafront for one of the coolest events you'll ever wish to attend. They were joined by 60 pro-surfers from around the world, competing in their own event. Add an additional 5000 spectators who came to enjoy themselves throughout the day, and you've got the makings of a truly memorable event.
Activities included the VW bus show, a longboard surf contest, two live bands on stage, a reggae DJ keeping things cool, a skate contest plus a quality swimsuit contest sponsored by Hooters and Venus Swimwear in case you were running out of things to do.
Across the bridge at the palm-lined Riverfront Park, another 150 water-cooled VWs and Audis enjoyed the atmosphere of DubJam, where they got the chance to shoot the warm breeze with fellow enthusiasts. The event attracts many local cars but was brought alive by all those who had made the long journey to escape the cold.
The bikini contest needs very little explanation... That evening, almost 500 VWs descended on the Sonic Drive-In. It's a local burger haunt, where the waitresses dash around on rollerskates. It makes for a laid-back end to the hectic day, but the size of the crowd meant the local fire marshal made two visits to ensure everybody was safe.
The Big Finale on Sunday was at the scenic Port Orange City Center. The venue has a man-made lake, an amphitheater and meeting hall. But today it would house 355 VWs and another huge crowd that enjoyed the live music, skate contest, plus a swapmeet.
New this year was the OldSpeed Experience. It was described as the world's largest indoor Cal-look memorabilia display and was organized by Chadd Magee, who brought out his personal collection of over 300 vintage VW wheels, shifters, steering wheels, valve covers and other memorabilia. With smaller displays from three other collectors, it was a great insight into the roots of the VW scene.
The organizers wanted to acknowledge the support of APR Tuned, Euro Technik Autosports and Forge Motorsports. They also announced the dates for WinterJAM Weekend 2010, which will take place February 18-21, 2010 in Daytona Beach, FL.
For more information, including plenty of things to do while in Daytona Beach, plus accommodations and a calendar of activities, visit daytonawinterjam.com