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31st-annual Florida Bug Jam rolls into Dade City

Spectators peruse Beetles and buses at the 31st-annual Florida Bug Jam, held Nov. 9-10 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City. [Michele Miller]
Spectators peruse Beetles and buses at the 31st-annual Florida Bug Jam, held Nov. 9-10 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City. [Michele Miller]
Published Nov. 13

DADE CITY — It was beetles and buses galore, along with the occasional Karmann Ghia, at the 31st-annual Florida Bug Jam held Nov. 9-10 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City.

There were more than 700 show registries, according to event promoter Randy Yoho. Entrants were judged in 18 categories.

Judges Amy Patton and Tom Williams check out this 1967 Beetle that was entered in the "Rat Rod" category at the Florida Bug Jam, held Nov. 9-10 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City. Bill Williams of Jacksonville used whatever he had on hand, from old hand saws, to antique glass doorknobs and bathrobe hangers salvaged from an old hotel, for his creative endeavor. [Michele Miller]

Some show cars were pristine, and others showed a patina that evolved with time and weather. Some had been converted into racing cars, and a few were fashioned after the Herbie the Love Bug of movie fame.

Joseph Dauro came all the way from Savannah, Georgia, to show off his 1969 VW Bus that was converted into a camper, complete with a roof tent for the grandkids.

“Everyone’s got their own crazy stuff.” he said. “This is the place to be when it comes to Volkswagens.”

Joseph Dauro came all the way from Savannah, Georgia, to show his 1969 Volkswagen Bus that he converted into a camper, complete with a roof tent for the grandkids. [Michele Miller]

Dauro said he found his bus in a field, paid $600 for the body and did it all over — “lights, wiring, brakes, you name it.”

He frequents shows such as Bug-a-Palüza in Tennessee, No Dough Weekend in Daytona and Buggies on the Beach on Amelia Island, and drives his VW bus most every day.

“Life’s too short to drive a boring car, he said," Dauro said. “Kids, hippies and rednecks, they love it.”

Bentley Witson, who was shooting drone footage of the event, said he enjoys the camaraderie almost as much as his 1973 Super Beetle.

“This is one of the bigger shows, but it’s not about that,” said Witson, who hauls a camper behind his Beetle while traveling the show circuit with his wife, Amy.

“It’s like a big family reunion," he said. "Every event is about seeing friends you don’t see all the time and meeting new friends, and it’s all because of a car.”

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