There are only a few car events in the country, and world for that matter, that really take over an entire town. Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance in Monterey, sure, Wörthersee Treffen in Austria, absolutely, H2O International, kind of, but the local businesses aren’t really onboard and the show itself isn’t too involved in the overall weekend or city—but Wolfsgart, in Burlington, Vermont? I could not believe how well this show interacted with the town and how openly the town embraced the sudden influx in modified cars!
For us, the weekend began at the beloved Bagriders BBQ. Also calling Burlington home, it only made sense for Bagriders (@bagriders) to host an event to really kick off the weekend for the out-of-towners. Taking over their small business complex just as in years’ past, the whole area was bursting at the seams with modified cars and general car enthusiasm, with our pal Jay’s newly-bagged Porsche 964 parked front and center. It was wildly-exciting to see the trio of Rennline (@rennline) cars arrive as well, bringing an attention to detail and functionality with early Porsches that most can only dream of seeing.
From Bagriders we made our way over to Zero Gravity Brewing, where the night’s next event was held. Strategically placing cars throughout the brewery, amongst the stills and warehouse defined by a massive wall of beer cans, a monolith that dreams are made of, Zero Gravity was the happening spot to celebrate the kickoff of Wolfsgart weekend! It’s important to point out, however, that we arrived in Burlington on Friday afternoon, two days into the the festivities planned by the Wolfsgart staff. These guys really know how to plan an event!
Before we knew it, Saturday morning was upon us. After camping onsite at the Champlain Expo Center, we effortlessly made it over to the showgrounds, where the organizers and staff we guiding in the day’s show cars. The fields quickly filled up, with modified German cars as far as the eye could see.
The expo halls housed the Alpha Class, the event’s premier group of pre-selected cars. Carefully arranged throughout the hall were some of the finest cars, including our pal Remi (@remux), from Unix Performance in Montreal, and his recently-completed RS4 conversion. Man, what a car!
Later in the day the masses flocked to a corner of the grounds where the limbo contest was taking place. Cars, loaded with as many people as possible, competed for the lowest roofline, while circling around the grounds. With every lap the bar lowered and cars were eliminated, but that didn’t stop the party from ensuing!
Bodies laid across hoods, trunks, and everywhere in between as the bar got lower, but somehow it’s always the Type 181, or VW Thing, that always has to unlevel the playing field by dropping its windscreen. There ought to be a rule or something for this guy—not even a Miata can compete with that!
After things calmed down at the expo center and those partaking departed on the Wolf Run, a cruise through the mountains of Vermont and back into town, we all reconvened Air Out Winooski, where countless cars lined the street of downtown Winooski on display. Despite all of the great things to do in Burlington, I couldn’t believe how many cars traveled to each of the smaller events throughout the weekend, such as Winooski. It really goes to show that diligent planning and a cooperative city go a long way for a car event, and the staff at Wolfsgart has really done their homework.
After spending the evening in Winooski and really taking in the laid-back atmosphere created by Wolfsgart, we were on our way back to the expo center to settle in for the night. But first, after being lured by fireworks, we had to wander through the campground and really see what was happening. Hundreds of enthusiasts had opted to camp out for the weekend, and it was clear that the celebration hadn’t ended earlier in the evening at Winooski. We made our way through the grounds stopping at one bonfire and another before sneaking back to our spot and falling asleep with the Vermont sky overhead.
The next morning we were at it early, shooting a couple of the Vossen-equipped cars with Volkswagen of America, and before were knew it were we back at the showgrounds for the final day of Wolfsgart. It was clear that many had partied hard the night before, as we made our rounds through the show again.
What it all comes down to, after visiting Burlington and partaking in a weekend of Wolfsgart, is the community. It’s always been there, and while some will argue that the community that once existed when VWVortex was in its prime has long since disappeared, I couldn’t disagree more. As much as I might personally dislike that social media has pushed forums out of the equation (have you ever tried searching social media to figure out how to remove a Mk7 door card? Yeah, good luck!), I don’t think it’s had a negative effect on the quality of the community or the events within it. If anything, it’s unknowingly created a tool that allows a person to experience a show without actually attending it, in turn raising the bar for events worldwide because they’re suddenly all on the same playing field, and that’s where Wolfsgart really shines.
The combination of a great host and destination city, a venue with a lot of room to grow, precise planning and strategy, and at the core, really great people, is something that will never get old. If only some of the other cities throughout the country could take a note from Burlington and Wolfsgart—we’d all be busy every single weekend of the year!