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'98 Bug Jam all revved up for Pasco fairgrounds show

(ran PAS edition)

For seven years, the Florida Bug Jam _ a one-day celebration of all things Volkswagen _ ran in tandem with the Land O'Lakes Flapjack Festival.

Now, for the first time, both events share the same weekend in different towns.

"We ran out of room" for the show at the Land O'Lakes Community Center, said Bug Jam coordinator Jeannie Brumley.

So, on Nov. 9, while volunteers in Land O'Lakes serve up flapjacks, the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City will be crawling with Beetles, Jettas, Things and Ghias. Last year, proud owners displayed 274 cars. More than 300 are expected this year, Brumley said.

The fairgrounds site has 18 acres for visitor parking and about 20 acres for show cars and exhibitor booths.

Although the Bug Jam now competes with the Flapjack Festival and its new antique car show, Brumley thinks families can make time for both events.

"I expect people can still do the Flapjack Festival on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday make the trip to the fairgrounds," Brumley said. "We're still in Pasco, to benefit Pasco and Land O'Lakes and our normal charities."

The usual charities include All Children's Hospital, the Pasco Food Bank and the Land O'Lakes High School marching band.

This parting of ways is amicable, said Marjorie Walsh, executive director of the Land O'Lakes Chamber of Commerce.

"We just outgrew each other," she said. "Now the Bug Jam has more room, and we've got room for a bigger midway."

Parking is $1 per car. Admission for adults and children older than 10 is $3 and a can of food; children under 10 need only donate a can of food. If you have a car to display, it costs $25 to register day of show.

The Bug Jam's theme this year is First Contact. On one hand, Brumley said, it introduces visitors to the new Volkswagen Beetle. On the other, it plays off our fascination with alien encounters.

The event begins at 11 a.m. The fairgrounds are on State Road 52 near Pasco High School. For information, call Brumley at 996-6306.