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VW fans aim to set new Guinness record at annual Bug Jam

Ian Sitko, left, and Bob Chew help set a Guinness record in 2009 by cramming 17 people into a Beetle at the Pasco Bug Jam. That record has since been broken with 20 people. The new goal: 21.

ATOYIA DEANS | Times (2009)

Ian Sitko, left, and Bob Chew help set a Guinness record in 2009 by cramming 17 people into a Beetle at the Pasco Bug Jam. That record has since been broken with 20 people. The new goal: 21.

DADE CITY — Two years ago, 17 people twisted and crammed their way into an old Volkswagen at the Pasco Bug Jam, setting the Guinness World Record for such a feat.

Then 20 college kids in Kentucky came along last winter and smashed that record.

The Bug Jam crowd wants to reclaim the crown. A new attempt will be made at the Nov. 13 event to somehow squeeze another person inside an old-style VW Beetle.

"I was amazed when we got 17 into the old Bug. I don't see how we can possibly get 21 in, but we're going to try. We want the record back," event coordinator Carol Jeffares Hedman said.

The annual event traditionally draws more than 500 Volkswagens to the Pasco County Fairgrounds, making it the largest VW show in the southeast and the second largest in the country. The gathering of VW enthusiasts also draws hundreds of new and used parts vendors; and there will be entertainment, children's games and food.

This year's theme is "Let It Be...etle." But with the drive to reclaim the world record, the attitude is more "Bring It On."

The rules for the Bug cram are simple: All participants must be at least 5 feet tall and 18 or older. All seats, steering wheels, mirrors, and other interior equipment must remain in place. Windows and doors must be closed and remain closed for at least 5 seconds.

Bug Jam participants took the title in 2009 from Brazil, where 15 people squeezed into a VW Bug the previous year. Then on Dec. 9, 2010, a group of young adults — many of them Asbury University students — filled a 1964 Beetle in Lexington, Ky., to set the record at 20.

The Asbury students used the stunt to kick off a Stop the Traffik Freedom Drive, a campaign to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking. The Beetle used in the feat, nicknamed Miles, has been on a 2,700-mile road trip to fundraisers and advocacy film screenings across the country.

Through the Bug Jam's efforts to reclaim the title, Hedman said she hopes to also raise awareness for the Freedom Drive's fundraising efforts by focusing on the four nonprofit organizations involved: Word Made Flesh, The Salvation Army, Not For Sale, and International Justice Mission.

And being a good sport, Miles the spokescar will be at the Bug Jam to wish his rivals well in the race for the Guinness record.

.if you go

Pasco Bug Jam

WHAT: The 23rd annual Pasco Bug Jam

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 13

WHERE: Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Road 52, Dade City

ADMISSION: Spectator admission is $5 for adults, plus a can of food. Children ages 10 and younger are admitted for a can of food. Parking is $2.

TO REGISTER: Pre-registration for show entries is $25 and includes gate admission for two, a show shirt, dash plaque, and goody bag. The deadline is Oct. 31. Pre-registration can be made and paid online at

INFORMATION: Call the Pasco County Fair Office, (352) 567-6678, or visit

VW fans aim to set new Guinness record at annual Bug Jam 09/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2011 8:11pm]
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