Eye Candy: 51st annual Das Awkscht Fescht

Photos by Jed Rapoport

There aren’t many collector car events that can claim more than 50 years of continuous existence. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the fall national meet of the AACA in Hershey are famously over the 60-year mark, but add to the short list of long-term survivors Das Awkscht Fescht, a.k.a The Macungie Car show. The event this summer marked the 51st anniversary of this multi-day event in Macungie, Pennsylvania, just outside Allentown.

The feature display for the two-day show was Dodge Brothers cars. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the marque.

Das Awkscht Fescht is the region’s native Pennsylvania German for The August Festival, which began as a fund raiser to help pay the mortgage on the swimming pool at Macungie Memorial Park. The car show remains is the major fund-raiser for a community park that uses no local tax dollars to support its operations.

The non-judged car show prides itself on its diverse offerings of vehicles and activities.

Thursday, the flea market opens to the public. Although not as large or as diverse as it once was, the flea market still caters to vendors and pickers in search of cars and car parts with a smattering of collectibles, antiques and non-automotive items.

Friday the flea market continues along with the first day of cars on display, opening of the craft displays and the start of live entertainment. The car show field on Friday is limited to 800 cars of 25 years or older.

Saturday’s car show is open to cars 25 years or older with a limit of 1300 pre-registered cars. Although the final tally on the field was down this year because of threatening weather reports, pre-registration was in excess of 1,100 cars.

The show field is typically diverse and this year was no exception with cars ranging from brass Stanley Steamers to a 1978 Lotus Esprit and a 1991 Dodge Lancer, from a 1930’s Divco Milk Truck to a 1970’s Chevrolet pick-up. There was a display of antique farm tractors and a line of vintage motorcycles and scooters.

Sunday is all about the individual car clubs. The Dodge Brothers club was well represented, but everything from the Crosley club to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg club to the Model A club were present on the show field.

Again pre-registration was in excess of 1,000 cars but threatening weather and a grey sky kept large numbers of cars and spectators at bay. It was unfortunate given that it did not rain on Saturday or Sunday and the overcast skies held the traditionally blazing temperatures and high humidity in check.

A large selection of craft vendors, food vendors, live bands, fireworks at night and children’s entertainment options offered enough automotive alternatives to keep families entertained all weekend. An antique toy show takes place Saturday just a short distance away from the show field with shuttle buses running between the two events.

According to my Father, this was my 48th year in attendance but, more importantly, it was my Father’s 51st year. He is one of only two survivors of the original organizing committee.

He has recounted to me how the organizers hoped to have a few dozen cars at the first event. They were utterly amazed when more than 100 cars showed up. To have grown to approximately 3,000 cars and lasted for 51 years is a milestone that few other shows will have the opportunity to match.

Attendance at Das Awkscht Fescht with a car is by pre-registration only, Next year’s feature car is the Chrysler 300, so go to www.awkscht.com to learn about this must attend event in 2015 and beyond.

One thought on “Eye Candy: 51st annual Das Awkscht Fescht”

  1. I knew the show was popular, but had no idea of the numbers of cars. Congrats on all fronts. I’m so proud to be in your family, even though entrance, beyond birthright, does require owning an old, luscious car.

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