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Herbie twin will ride again at Volkswagen love fest

David Evans loves the Bug.

He has owned more Volkswagens than he has celebrated birthdays.

The 30-year-old auto parts salesman got his first, a Karmann Ghia, when he was a student at Leto High School.

"Is that a Porsche?" classmates would ask.

"I was proud to say it was a Volkswagen," Evans recalled.

He has owned 39 more VWs since.

His latest pampered Beetle is a replica of Walt Disney's Herbie the Love Bug, down to the No. 53 racing logo and a horn that beeps by remote control.

"Herbie inspired my love for Volkswagens," said Evans, who lives in Town 'N Country.

"There's just something about them that's like magic. It developed into a love affair and obsession."

Evans is helping coordinate the Florida Bug Jam.

The annual event, being held Sunday in Dade City in eastern Pasco County, is considered one of the biggest VW shows on the East Coast. More than 300 cars are expected to be on display.

Proceeds will benefit All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, the Pasco Food Bank and Land O'Lakes High School, among other causes.

"It's a lot of fun," Evans said of the event. "Being with these cars is something special. They're more for the common, Joe Average person."

Ken Buck, executive director of the Pasco Food Bank based in Land O'Lakes, praised the Bug Jam's mission to stuff an old VW bus with canned goods.

"We are really grateful they are doing this, because we're having a devil of a time keeping food in here for our agencies," Buck said.

"We need more all the time, so canned goods are a precious commodity. We really look forward to the results of the Bug Jam and their food drive."

Before July, he said, the food bank distributed, on average, 65,000 pounds of food each month through about 70 charitable organizations. Since then distribution has jumped to an average 95,000 pounds.

"We're just getting a lot of people who either come down and are in bad shape, or who are just now discovering the different food pantries available to them in the area," Buck said.

The Bug Jam will start at the Pasco County Fairgrounds on State Road 52 at about 11 a.m.

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

Evans plans to show Herbie at the Bug Jam.

"He gets a lot of people smiling," Evans said. "I want to make people happy, because you hear about too many tragedies these days. It's nice to give people something to smile about."

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