|July 27, 2007
Event Coverage: Waterfest 13
The Waterfest 13 coverage assignment has fallen to yours truly and candidly it has been a bit of an uphill task this week. Ever since I left New Jersey last Sunday I’ve been working on how to put a fair, yet accurate, spin on the weekend’s events. Suffice it to say I’m still struggling, but here goes nothing.
Waterfest represents the pinnacle of North American Audi / VW car shows, with the biggest attendance, the widest variety of vendors, the most daily events and the greatest diversity of attendees and vehicles.
Waterfest represents everything that happens to any event over the years as it grows and grows away from the fringe and a little bit too far into the mainstream.
And with these two statements the reader can perhaps begin to appreciate the difficulty in preparing fitting event coverage. We’d be hard pressed to mention another US show this year that comes anywhere close to the size of and overall offering at Waterfest, but we need to reconcile whether that’s a good thing.
In the highlights category, first and foremost the weather was beautiful throughout the weekend. Normally this would not be worth mentioning, however over the years we’ve seen everything from literally scorching heat to downpours that turn the show grounds into a fast running river. 2007 was perfect with mostly sunny skies, temperatures in the high 80’s and relatively low humidity.
We were impressed with the evolution of the vendor tents and displays this year. Nearly all of the major vendors provided bigger spaces, more room to get in the tent and out of the sun, larger static product displays and a full compliment of representatives on hand to answer questions and sell product.
This year there was heavy action outside the show in the overflow exhibition area and parking lot outside Raceway Park. In a way that makes total sense given that the “real” show has grown so big on the inside. Hardcore enthusiasts are still making the trek to Waterfest but the show outside the show is taking on some of the old Waterfest meet-n-greet feel. We think that’s a good thing.
Just like last year we would opine that Audi’s current lineup is not lending itself to the same level of tuning as in the past, specifically with the venerable 2.7T powerplant not part of the current offering. That said the 2.0T motor is picking up momentum and major vendors such as APR, REVO, GIAC, AWE and VF-Engineering all provided programming upgrades or staged offerings. We witnessed the customary long lines of owners getting their ECUs flashed throughout the show.
APR’s bikini girls were ubiquitous, AWE deserves a special mention for their innovative ice sculpture demonstrations and we take our hats off to Stratmosphere for the most comfortable tent to just kick back and relax.
All-in-all the challenge with Waterfest going forward will be how to retain the magic of what has always been a premier enthusiast event. Kudos to the attendees themselves who get the best of both worlds by keeping up the late night parking lot gatherings, the BBQ’s in the exhibition area, the many show events (such as autocross, drags, and sound off) and the camaraderie of the many Waterfest cruises, while at the same time taking advantage of what has undeniable become a more corporate event.