July 23, 2006

Waterfest 12
Text and Photos by: Jason Teller and Kris Hansen

AudiWorld has been to Waterfest for seven straight years. OK, we know people who have attended 10+ Waterfests, but still for us three-quarters of a decade seems to qualify for veteran status. The first couple of years we were n00bs just soaking in the “big show”. These days we are busy making the rounds with AudiWorld readers and sponsors and making sure that we do our part to ensure that all the different folks have a great time.

In fact what struck us most this year was how diverse - and mainstream at the same time - the crowd had become. Just a few years prior there was a much more raw edge to the attendees – more hardcore enthusiasts, tuners and old school V-dub owners in particular. Audis were literally just sprinkled in here and there. Early on we remember clearly feeling obligated to help the four rings have a better showing the following year. This year Audis were everywhere, albeit many more new models than the much-revered older models from the past.

Some readers will recall last year’s show recap where we opined that a product lull was holding things back in the super-competitive tuning arena. Thankfully 2006 was a whole new ballgame. Between the MkV GTI, the RS4, the new Q7 and the B7 A4/S4 there was a lot more late-model eye candy on display. All of the major vendors were also well represented at Waterfest once again this year, many of them of course long-time AudiWorld sponsors. With the show now drawing in excess of 10,000 attendees on both Saturday and Sunday, vendors have a fantastic opportunity to connect with owners and show off their latest wares.

Despite all the build-up to Waterfest each year, the reality is that covering the show is getting a bit cumbersome. As mentioned, after seven straight years of attendance we sometimes feel like it’s Groundhog Day all over again when it comes time to compose the show recap. Here’s a quick one paragraph attempt before we try something completely different for 2006.

The show is growing year over year. It is the absolute show NOT TO MISS on the east coast each summer simply because of the number of enthusiasts, partiers, vendors and hardcore owners it draws. There’s something for everyone, be it drags, burn-outs, late night parties, immaculately conceived and executed project cars, dyno testing, a sound off, autocrossing (and autocross school), a swap meet and every single major tuner/vendor. The event is most certainly on the corporate radar at Volkswagen as evidenced by the large garage Volkswagen erected onsite complete with cars, spokespeople and the unpimping Helga. The event is also on Audi of America’s radar based on the many off the record conversations we’ve had with them. Audi of America was kind enough to help show off its RS4 wundercar by loaning Imola Yellow sedans to both AudiWorld and Fourtitude for display in our booths. And the kicker (we say it every year): if you are going to attend just one major enthusiast event each summer then Waterfest has to be near the top of the list.

To be fair, we’ve written most of our previous coverage akin to that last paragraph. And also to be fair every word of it is true. Waterfest is a great place to hang with friends, see great cars and check out the latest from all the important vendors.

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