Das Awkscht Fescht, Macungie PA, August 2022

If there had been any doubts that eastern Pennsylvania is the center of the automotive hobby in these United States, my visit to Macungie, PA, this weekend to attend “Das Awkscht Fescht”, now in its 59th year, removed those doubts. How fortunate am I, living in the metro NY/NJ region my entire life, that shows in the Pennsylvania towns of Macungie, Carlisle, Hershey, New Hope, and Harrisburg are all within an easy one-day round-trip drive? Add to that the longevity of these events: I first attended Carlisle in the late ‘70s, Hershey in the early ‘80s, and Macungie in the early ‘90s. New Hope’s website claims they are in their 65th year. Mecum’s Harrisburg auction, a newcomer to these parts, began in 2015 and I haven’t missed one yet.

Yes, we know about “Monterey” in California, a long-standing tradition every August. It’s grown to gargantuan proportions, combining multiple shows and auctions into a jam-packed week. Amelia Island in Florida in March is referred to by some as the “Monterey of the East”, again with shows and auctions running back-to-back. However, these are once-a-year programs on the calendar, without any other nearby automotive events during the rest of the year. The Keystone State calendar starts with Carlisle in April, then the Hershey Elegance in June, Mecum Harrisburg in July, Das Awkscht Fescht and New Hope in August, Carlisle again in September, and concludes with Hershey in October. All these shows are well-attended by car owners and spectators alike, and the collector car club support acts as a backbone, ensuring consistency year after year. This tally doesn’t count the marque-specific Carlisle events, club-sponsored local shows, or the incredible museums in the state such as the Simeone in Philly.

Back to Macungie 2022: it’s a 3-day event and always has been, with some variety each of the days. Saturday seems to bring out the largest number of cars and so it was my choice again for this year. The weather was hot and humid, but the occasional breeze and some intermittent cloudiness helped alleviate the dog days of August. Attendance was excellent, even if some areas of the field never filled to capacity. (In fairness, I saw cars arriving as late as noon, so the field may have seen its ranks swell a bit.) While it’s mostly American cars, the pre-war turnout is strong. The decades of the ‘50s and ‘60s are also well-represented. Import vehicles, led this year by a special field of British cars, provided some variety.

Similar to what I’ve done at Hershey, I find it a huge advantage to arrive early and photograph vehicles as they drive in. The gates opened at 7:30 a.m., and I situated myself and my trusty Sony (this time using my prime 85mm telephoto lens) along the entrance path and snapped away. Later, I walked the entire show and captured many of the cars that I didn’t get to see drive in under their own power. While I was unable to enter a car of my own this year, I conversed with numerous friends on the field who had brought cars, and I hope to join the fun in a more engaging way for next year’s big 60th anniversary!

 

WARNING! MASSIVE PHOTOGRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD!
The Morning Parade:

 

 

Sometimes, the smallest cars make the grandest entrances:

 

On the showfield:

 

British cars were set apart from the rest in their own special part of the field:

 

 

Is the “new” Mini “mini”?

 

This car was parked among the Brits. When I teased the owner about it, he retorted, with a knowing wink in his eye, “well, the Smiths gauges are British!”

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

Das Awkscht Fescht, Macungie PA, August 2013

Das Awkscht Fescht, better known as “Macungie” (the name of the Pennsylvania town which hosts it) is an annual car show held on the first weekend in August. Their website claims that this year’s show is its 59th annual, and my Sharp calculator computes that to mean the event began in 1963. I first attended this show in the early 1980s, when there was a large turnout of BMW Isettas and I was in search of basically anything I could find out about mine. I’ve also written about this show previously: my Isetta was on display there in 2010, and I added posts after my visits in 2017 and 2021.

Continuing my look back through old photos, I found these from the 2013 show. Visiting Macungie is delightful.  It’s set on grass in a park, there’s huge car club support, and for the most part, vehicles are arranged by make and model. For significant others and young ones whose interest in old cars wanes after a few minutes, there are plenty of non-automotive attractions too, including craft booths, petting zoos, live music in an outdoor bandshell, and even a pool. It’s certainly small enough to cover in one day, but if your time is limited, or if it’s too hot to trudge into all 4 corners, you can always seek out the brands of your preference.

This year, my camera seemed to be trained more on cars of the 1950s. Perhaps it was the colors, or the ornate details one finds on the chrome behemoths of this decade.  Of all the included photos below, my favorite is the unrestored Cord. I can become jaded when looking at one over-restored car after another. The very idea that someone would keep such a valuable and rare car in this condition is wonderful and refreshing.

Unrestored 1930s Cord Roadster

 

1957 Ford Thunderbird

 

Nomad tails

 

Go-go-Goggomobil!

 

 

 

1957 DeSoto – note quad headlights which just started to be legal that year

 

Chrysler Imperial

 

1962 Chrysler 300H

 

Firebird nose progression – the ’69 has a poorly executed nose job

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

Das Awkscht Fescht, Macungie PA, August 2021

Now in its 58th year, Das Awkscht Fescht (The August Festival) was held in Memorial Park in Macungie PA on August 6, 7, & 8, 2021. This three-day show, with slightly varied themes each day, is one of the longest-running classic car events in the Northeast. I was a spectator this year on Saturday, on the presumption that the greatest number of vehicles were likely to show up that day. Still, compared to previous years (I posted about my 2017 visit on this blog, and have been a sporadic attendee since the 1980s), the field was perhaps 80% filled.

“Macungie”, which is what we call it, is an appealing show: it’s set on grass within a park which offers lots of shade; and it offers non-automotive attractions including craft displays, a live petting zoo, and a bandshell with live musical entertainment. Saturday’s show cars were approximately arranged by decade. The featured marque(s) was Cadillac/LaSalle, and most of those vehicles were situated under one of the few tents on the property.

Overall, the quality and variety of vehicles were outstanding. Domestic brands comprised about 98% of the vehicles on display, but a few of the import makes were standouts (see sidebar below). Members of the NJ Region of the AACA turned out in some force, and the National AACA had a trailer on site, making Das Awkscht Fescht a quasi-official AACA event.

Photographically, I challenged myself by bringing only my 85mm prime (non-zoom) lens on my still new-to-me Sony camera. This lens takes great pictures, and the results look to be marginally sharper than the 28-60mm zoom lens I use 90% of the time. The challenge, however, is that for a full-body front or rear ¾ shot, I need to be about 25 feet away from a car, and accomplishing that at a show crowded with show-goers requires long waits for just the right moment. One trick which I’ve used at Hershey was to position myself on the street outside the show and capture cars as they drove in, an effect that worked well here. As another alternative, many shots are of only a portion of the automobile; in those cases I attempted to highlight some interesting design feature.

The Macungie show is a great PA tradition, always held the first week of August. Like other Northeast stalwarts such as Hershey and Lime Rock, this one is perennially on my calendar. Maybe next time I’ll bring a car!

 

 

HEADING IN:

 

STATION WAGONS!

 

CADILLAC FINS:

 

PRE-WAR:

 

LAND YACHTS:

 

A RARE HURST/OLDS:
TWO CUTIES, A CROSLEY AND A VESPA:
THE TWO-SEAT SPORTS CAR, OLD AND NEW:
A STUNNING ’57 FORD SKYLINER RETRACTABLE:

 

 


SIDEBAR: Mike, Barry, and the Fiats

As I crouched low to take additional photographs of the pristine white Fiat 124 Spider in front of me, the gentleman to my right spoke up. “It’s nice to see someone besides me who likes these cars!” We exchanged pleasantries for a few moments about our shared passion for the Italian cars from Torino, and he introduced himself as Barry. “Are either of these (a black one was parked next to the white one) yours?” I queried. “No”, he responded, “but I help the owner take care of them”.

Within a few moments, a younger gent joined our conversation. I quickly learned that his name was Mike, and that he owned both 124s on display (along with the BMW E30 convertible next to them). The white ’79 2000 Spider caught most of my attention, as the sign claimed that it was an 8,000 mile, all-original and unrestored car. Mike related that he bought the car about 8 years ago from an ad in an FLU (Fiat-Lancia Unlimited, the old Fiat club) newsletter. The ad contained no photo, just the briefest of writeups. The car was in L.A., while Mike was in PA. He subsequently learned that this car had been bought new by Jerry Zucker, the movie producer of “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun” fame. Mike never spoke with Jerry, but apparently negotiated the terms of the sale with one of Jerry’s spokespeople. He rolled the dice, he said, when he bought the car sight-unseen and then had it shipped back east. He was pleasantly surprised at its condition, and although he does drive it, he said he strives to continue to keep the mileage low.

The black car, strictly speaking, wasn’t a Fiat but a Pininfarina (extra points to Mike who knew exactly why a “Pininfarina” wears the letter “f” as its name bade). Although I didn’t record it, I believe that the newer Spider was an ’83, which would make it the first model year for the renamed Pininfarina Azzurra. (When Fiat abandoned the U.S. market in 1982, Pininfarina took over marketing of the Spider for the States.)  Both cars were near perfect, and it was a delight to see them parked side-by-side and note the differences, especially in the interior. However, I was so engrossed in conversation that I failed to snap any shots of the newer Spider.

 

It turned out that Barry, as a friend and neighbor, does much of the mechanical upkeep on Mike’s cars. The two of them were as enthusiastic and knowledgeable about all things Fiat as they could be. Barry in particular was impressively able to recite nuances about interior detail differences across all the Spider generations. All in all, I spent about 30 minutes in delightful conversation with both these gentlemen. Meeting and talking with them was the highlight of my visit to Macungie that day.

 

All photographs copyright © 2021 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

Das Awkscht Fescht, Macungie PA, August 2017

Memorial Park provides a wonderful setting for a car show

On the first weekend of August 2017, the town of Macungie PA hosted Das Awkscht Fescht (“The August Festival”) for the 54th consecutive year. This 3-day car show has grown into one of the largest collector car gatherings in the Northeast, and given what else is held in the area, that is quite the feat.

“Macungie” (most people call it this as it’s easier to say) is set in Memorial Park. As such, all the display vehicles are situated on grass in a park-like setting. The show further sets itself apart by featuring non-automotive attractions for family members who want to do more than hang around gramp’s 1959 Borgward all day. Arts & Crafts booths, kid’s games, and even a bandshell with live musical entertainment provide lots of distractions. Pennsylvania Dutch edibles are available, along with the usual car show fast food. Admission is a reasonable $8.

Field was crowded with both vehicles and spectators

Macungie was a quick stop for me on my way back from Mecum Harrisburg. There was just enough time to park, briskly walk the showfield, and head back to my car so I could be fashionably late for a friend’s BBQ.

The photos capture but a small slice of the wonderful display vehicles. For full effect, one really needs to attend all three days, as there are different cars on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. A big part of Macungie’s success is the support from local car clubs, which have historically provided tremendous impetus in getting members’ cars out for the public’s enjoyment.

You can learn more about Das Awkscht Fescht here.

This Packard, a true #1 car, was a standout at Saturday’s show

 

The oldest Miatas are now 27 years of age. This one was an AACA award winner.

 

Crosley Hot Shot

 

This coffin-nose FWD Cord appeared to be unrestored, or an aged older restoration

 

Trio con brio: 2 Fiats and an Alfa, all spiders

 

1958 Edsel – styling less controversial 60 years later (have you seen a Toyota lately?)

 

Fiat Multipla – some argue it’s the first minivan

 

Candy-colored Nash Metropolitans (note license plate)

 

MGB/GT

 

Pennsylvania-built VW Rabbit (square headlights give it away)

 

2nd gen Chevy Corvair coupe

 

1963 Pontiac Tempest convertible

 

Striking Mustang pony interior easier to photograph with top down

 

Chrysler wagon with 4-door hardtop styling (man’s, er, gut, was inadvertent)

 

Kaiser Darrin’s unique sliding door

 

Nice hood ornament!

 

A car show tradition: keeping it clean for the customers

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.