2019 VW Event Listings | VW Event Coverage

Mid-America Motorworks Funfest for Air-Cooled VW 2019
By Danny Stevens

In the summer of 1999, Mike Yager and the team at Mid America Motorworks hosted a laid-back Volkswagen show in appreciation of their VW customers. A few hundred VWs and their enthusiastic owners came to the event in Effingham, Illinois to celebrate the hobby. By the early 2000s, Funfest for Air-Cooled VW had grown to welcome thousands of VWs over the course of the weekend. This casual event as grown to become one of the must-attend VW shows of the year in the Midwest, welcoming guests from across the United States and around the world.

While Funfest does put special focus on classic Volkswagens, we know that the VW passion spans generations and we welcome all models of Volkswagens to the show. Over the years, we have also welcomed a number of noteworthy guests, including Bruce Meyers, the creator of the Meyers Manx Dune Buggy; Joaquin Garay III, star of Herbie Goes Bananas; and Damon Ristau, filmmaker of "The Bus Movie" and "The Bug Movie." According to Mike Yager, "It has been especially gratifying for us to be able to host Funfest for Air-Cooled VW on our campus and meet our customers face-to-face. It's one of the few times a year when we get to connect with everyone, hear their stories, see their cars and enjoy the hobby! Once you attend Funfest, you usually make a point of attending every year."

Funfest 2019 ended with a bang, just like it started! With the free camping, some left a day early to travel and get setup! Other trickled in at the same time we did and over the next few days. This event has something for just about everyone! From all sorts of Volkswagens, activities for kids and adults, and events that go on all day and into the eve. This year it was Herbie's 50th celebration! No matter if you camp or just cruise in the Funfest is always worth coming to. People travel minutes to hours to reach the huge piece of property that holds Funfest.

Swap Meet
Meet and Greets
Fun-run cruise into the town of Effingham
Club Interviews
Painting/Tye Dyeing
Live Bands
Free give away/shopping/Awards
A brand-new engine raffle
Technical advice and shop work
Stein Hoist Competition/Beer Tent
Donations to St. Jude
Inflatables for kids/Face painting

The goody bags are great, the employees are always warm and welcoming and technically you don't ever have to leave once on-site as it has every amenity. You can always count on a great swap meet at funfest, with affordable prices! The weather this year was great, but you had to deal with the strong winds, which beats the heat wave in years past. The Yager family is approachable and friendly as ever, and are willing to take this event to the next level, while listening to advice. Matter of fact, they met us at our grounds when we arrived, knowing of us and out location from the past! Awesome!

Platinum Bug Award Winner - Ronald Richeson

As a young boy, Ronald Richeson was surrounded by Volkswagens. His father, Charles, ran a local VW repair shop in the town of Waterloo, Ill. It's no surprise that Charles Richeson's passion and love for the VW became an integral part of his son Ronald's upbringing and lifetime hobby. Emily Richeson has nominated Ronald (her father-in-law) to receive the Platinum Bug Award this year.

"There are many things I could say about my father-in-law about his love for Volkswagens; however, his dedication to Volkswagen goes far beyond loyalty. He is genuinely an enthusiast for Volkswagen." Not only does Ronald own many Volkswagens and drives them as much as humanly possible, he continues in his father's footsteps as a second generation Volkswagen mechanic and hobbyist. Ronald is known to spend countless hours in his garage working on his Volkswagens and those of others too. In his daily life, he promotes and preserves the hobby by ensuring his father, sons, and grandsons are also engaged in the hobby. His father still has his own dune buggy, and his sons are building or rebuilding their own Volkswagens as well.

"Whether learning about Volkswagens, working on them, driving in them, or spending time around them (at car shows) Ronald is always trying to pass on his passion for Volkswagens to the next generation," said Emily. "Ronald is currently teaching/helping my husband, his eldest son, to build a 1957 Volkswagen Beetle; along with working on other Volkswagen projects." Spending a lifetime in the industry, Ronald is the leader of the Buggy Meister Volkswagen group. The Buggy Meisters' have four generations of Richeson's on their Club Roster. Attending car cruises, shows and events including Funfest for Air-Cooled VW is how they spend their leisure time. Emily believes Ronald is the ideal nominee for this year's Platinum Bug Award. He is a "long -term Volkswagen enthusiast and promoter of preserving Volkswagens," Emily said. He is also committed to passing on the hobby and tradition of being a Volkswagen owner/enthusiast to the next generation.

If you have not attended a Funfest for Air-Cooled VW, please book and schedule your time for 2020, as I hear it going to be fantastic!


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