Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Events

Volkswagens to descend on Dade City for annual Florida Bug Jam

DADE CITY — This weekend, the 28th annual, Marvel comic-themed, Florida Bug Jam will include a parade and a concert. But the highlight is what else visitors will see.

"Volkswagens everywhere," said Bug Jam promoter Randy Yoho.

In fact, Yoho said, the Bug Jam is one of the largest Volkswagen car shows in the country — and it keeps growing.

Last year about 10,000 lovers of the German automaker showed up from as far away as Japan and Germany.

"It was a record year," Yoho said.

Why so popular?

"It's a good time," Yoho said. "A lot of nice people, and they all have Volkswagen in common. They're car enthusiasts."

And, in his third year promoting the event, Yoho has become one,. He bought a white 1970 Volkswagen Bus and named it "Rover."

This year's festival is the third in a row that will be two days instead of one. Organizers turned it into a two-day event so "somebody's who driving from Alabama or Georgia has a little more to do," Yoho said.

Saturday's schedule includes a poker run and Bugs on the Track — an opportunity to watch modified Volkswagens navigate an off-road motocross track.

"A lot of bajas and rails," Yoho said. "Some people take their (Volkswagen) vans out there and drive them around the course. These things do very well off-road. It's surprising how versatile they are."

A police-escorted Volkswagen parade from the Pasco County Fairgrounds to downtown Dade City, where the Bug Jam will hold its "Pre-Jam Party," will take place Saturday. Live music will follow at the fairgrounds with the Caribbean Chillers, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, headlining.

The car show and swap meet are on Sunday.

"It's all Volkswagens," Yoho said. "We don't let Fords or Chevys in."

Yoho expects at least 700 Volkswagens to be on display during the show.

During the show, visitors will be able to browse or buy at the concurrent swap meet, which will feature more than 100 used parts vendors and 20 new parts vendors.

"Keeping these older Volkswagens running is a labor of love," Yoho said.

And the Florida Bug Jam keeps people coming to Dade City.

"It's bringing people in who have never seen Dade City, or Pasco County, at all," Yoho said. "I hope we can beat our record, or at least get close to it this year."

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