‘VolksBlast’ 2011 set for Jan. 29-30

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Volkswagens and their admirers are pictured from the last event.

Volkswagen aficionados, casual car buffs and weekend fun seekers take note: the premiere annual event for those beloved bugs, whether classic or new, VolksBlast, returns for a weekend festival on January 29-30.

Taking place once again along historic Sunset Drive in South Miami, the three day event really kicks off on Friday January 28 with a 6 p.m. “Blast at the Wizards” Volksblast Pre-party for those driving Volkswagens into town to exhibit, and with the Saturday Jan 29 “Miami V-Dubs CONGA RUN” from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in which VW drivers can follow a designated route and pick up playing cards along the way at different stops. Cash prizes will be awarded to those who have collected the top poker hands.

But the main event for spectators is on Sunday January 30 as attendees can view the lineup of classic cars and see dealers’ newest models, too, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Live music, provided by the legendary South Florida Party band, Funkette, and other special events begin at 11 a.m., and accessory vendors and participating restaurants will add to the fun.

More than just a fun event, though, VolksBlast has raised almost $100,000 in total for different local charities, including contributing enough to build a house for Habitat for Humanity in South Miami. Volksblast Inc., a 501c Not-For-Profit registered corporation, entirely staffed by volunteers, has also donated towards Cancer Research with the American Cancer society, aided Haiti relief via University of Miami’s Outreach program and has repeatedly helped the Center for Great Apes in Wachula Florida.

Jason Walters, a teacher at Gulliver and a long time Volkswagen fan, does much of the organizational legwork for the event each year.

“We hope to have 200 cars and as many as 5000 people attending,” Walters said. “Deel VW and Esserman VW have been great with their support. They’ll have some new cars on display as well. The great thing about this is that it’s a basically free event that’s fun for the whole family. You don’t have to be a Volkswagen lover, but many of the people that turn out for this are.”

Photographer Bill Steckley, one of the founders and participants in the event, has been involved in the shows since they began in 1998. He says there’s more to it than just the beetles.

“The big deal this year is that Mac Cycle, who has participated every year in the show, is going to have an antique bicycle show also, with an old school BMX display,” Steckley said. “The City of South Miami has been very cooperative and we’re happy to have them support us every year.”

Jason Walters said that VolksBlast draws fans from all over, and this year there are people coming from Sweden, Germany, Puerto Rico, California and many other locations. He also commented on the special display of BMX bikes at this year’s event.

“When we were kids, we threw them away,” Walters said. “But some of those 80’s bicycles now are worth three or four thousand dollars. It just shows you how things can go up in value.”

To register for any special functions or for general information, contact Jason Walters at bugginmiami@hotmail.com, or visit the official website, www.volksblast.com.

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