Summer Is Revving Up With Das Awkscht Fescht

By Angela Bristow

Get your motors running and drive on over to the 49th annual Das Awkscht Fescht. The antique, classic and sports car festival, held at and benefiting Macungie Memorial Park, will run August 3-5. The festival has something for every generation, including a variety of food, live entertainment, arts and crafts, a toy show and flea market.

Housed in a large tent will be this year’s feature car, the Crosley. Over 60 Crosley cars and other Crosley items including appliances in a complete kitchen exhibit, a firetruck, radios and a race boat will be on display. “We will allow kids to get in the cars and have their picture taken,” says Barry Seel, a member of the Board of Directors for the National Crosley Automobile Club.

Throughout the three days of Das Awkscht Fescht, Crosley Automobile Club members will be participating in timed dismantling and assembly demonstrations of a real Crosley. Under the main tent an informative video about the history of Crosley originator, Powel Crosley, will be showing. Crosley made his fortune as a radio and appliance manufacturer and then added cars to the lineup from 1939-1952.

With good weather, the festival is expecting between 2,700 and 3,000 cars to be on exhibit this year. “It [the number of cars] goes with the economy,” says Shirley Schaffer, Committee Member in charge of car and flea market registrations.

On Friday August 3, exhibition cars will be those made in 1989 or older, featuring street rods, classics and antiques from mainly American manufacturers. Saturday August 4, features cars that are at least 25 years old and meet the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) classifications. And on Sunday August 5, cars from 1910 to 1987 from 35 car clubs, including Dodge, Hudson and Buick will be on display. Keeping with the relaxed atmosphere of Das Awkscht Fescht, the cars are not judged but all exhibitors receive a participation award and dash plaque.

Most of the activities are outdoors, but the nearly 200 juried arts and crafts vendors being housed under tents and indoors. Featured items include woodcarvings, quilts, jewelry, creative purses made from antique boxes and containers, handmade bibs and baby clothing, as well as furnishings for the home and garden.

The roughly 560 flea market vendors will be spread across two fields, and will feature car-related items including car parts, literature, jewelry and some restoration items. Kids-of-all-ages and collectors will enjoy the toy show at nearby Eyer Middle School. There is both an indoor and outdoor toy show this year on Saturday. If you’re looking to buy your own classic, antique or fixer-upper, then stop by the Car Corral where individuals display their cars for sale.

There is plenty of festival food available, from hamburgers and sausage sandwiches to funnel cake and frozen fruit drinks. In addition to the swimming pool and playground, children will enjoy the clowns, face painting, and special entertainment programs. Saturday night the whole family can enjoy the fireworks display.

The music line-up in the historic band shell under the shade of the trees will feature oldies, country, rock and roll, and blues performed by regional favorites including the Mike Dugan Blues Mission, Flamin’ Dick and the Hot Rods, Macungie Municipal Band, King Henry and the Showmen, Crazy Heart, and The Vince Pettinelli Swing Band.

New to the music entertainment this year is the Dave Goddess Band. “They are new for our festival. They are a big-time band, serious recording artists, soon to go national, I’m sure,” says Phil Forcielli, Entertainment Director and Committee Member for Das Awkscht Fescht.

Das Awkscht Fescht is the brainchild of Leroy Schaeffer, George Wendling, and David Bausch. Born from the need to pay off bond issues for the Macungie Memorial Park’s swimming pool, these men turned their personal interest of antique cars into what has become an annual car festival for enthusiasts of all ages. Says Bausch, Committee Member, “What we noticed was that the car shows were strictly cars and that only half of the family would enjoy the show and the other half was bored. We wanted to have enough activities for the whole family to enjoy.  With the 50th Anniversary just a year away, we’re extremely proud of the wonderful family-friendly event that we, and our hundreds of volunteers, have created.”

“These people love cars, they really do,” says Forcielli. “We have people who have their individual cars, some with collections, and others come as part of their entire car club. Das Awkscht Fescht has cars you just don’t see anymore.”

Admission is $7 for adults and $2 for children under 15 years of age and includes all events, shows and entertainment (the pool fee is extra).

Das Awkscht Fescht
Macungie Memorial Park
50 North Poplar Street
Macungie, PA 18062

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