July 26, 2003

Waterfest 9
Text by Jason Teller & Photos by Jason Teller, Don Pavlik and Neil McGarry

Waterfest, which has undeniably grown to epitomize the very idea of a VAG enthusiast automobile show, was once again very comfortable in that role as Waterfest 9 came off without a hitch.

It was only my 2nd annual trip to the show, but I found many improvements over the 2002 version. Whereas last year was scorching hot, a gentle breeze kept this year's temperatures more than bearable (in fact some wicked thunderstorms on Saturday cooled things down a lot). Whereas last year the number of Audi attendees was on the thin side, the four rings were very significantly represented this year. There were also more people at Waterfest this year - all told more than 20,000 - than any other year in the history of the event.

For all the things that were different this year, one of the things that will undoubtedly be a part of Waterfests for years to come is the Saturday night festivity. Following a new 2-day format with the show starting on Saturday, hotel parking lots were again turned into smoky burnout pads, roadways became a seemingly endless stream of VW and Audi caravans, beer and other libations are consumed at nearly inhuman rates, parking garages were turned into ad hoc racetracks and mostly all-in-good-fun civil disobedience was the norm. Put simply, Saturday night partiers are sure to return with tales that friends back home believe to be pushing the truth but which are usually 100% genuine.

Sunday's show day is the yin to Saturday's partying yang with people going about the serious business of displaying their cars, checking out other rides, talking to the many vendors in attendance, watching the various competitions and just generally hanging out doing the VW or Audi 'thang. It seemed to me that every single tuner and vendor worth mentioning was onsite showing the latest goodies, selling parts at a feverish pace, putting faces to names and answering questions. The event is the perfect spot for many to finally meet the tuners they'd only previously done business with via phone and e-mail.

As previously mentioned the Audi turnout was big this year thanks to a focused effort on the organizer's part to get the upscale brand from Ingolstadt more involved. Although VW's still outnumbered Audis probably 4 or 5 to 1, it is still safe to say that Waterfest's Audi showing will rank positively relative to any of the Audi enthusiast events throughout the summer. AudiWorld's booth was right in middle of the action again this year and included four amazing readers' cars (two B6 A4's, one B5 S4 and a TT) as well as a PhatNoise Audi allroad courtesy of Audi Accessories. We debuted a new AudiWorld logo t-shirt which sold briskly in the booth as well.

As with many of these events, a write-up hardly does justice to the overall experience of actually being there. Read all the coverage you can and check out the pictures, but the best thing to do would be to mark Waterfest into your 2004 calendar right now and get yourself there. Next year will mark the ten year anniversary too - not to be missed.

Even if you missed Waterfest (or just need to continue your Audi fix) there are two more great events coming up this summer: the 2003 Northeast Audi Summer Exposition in the Boston area August 1-3 and waterwagens 2003 in the Seattle area September 1st. AudiWorld is a sponsor of both events and we look forward to seeing you there!

Pages: [1] [Photo Gallery]