Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pasco Bug Jam Sets World Record for Most People in a VW Bug

DADE CITY --- The fledging economy didn’t stop Volkswagen owners from flocking to the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City, FL, for the 21st annual Pasco Bug Jam on Sunday, Nov. 8. Nearly 500 VWs, representing most all models of the “People’s Car,” entered the show, along with more than 125 swap vendors and plenty of new VW parts vendors and sellers of all things Volkswagen.

The Bug Jam, noted as the largest VW show in the Southeast, also received international recognition when event hosts organized an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Record™ for the most people “crammed into an old-style VW Beetle.”

“The old figure was 15, set in December 2008 in Brazil,” said Carol Jeffares Hedman, Bug Jam coordinator. “I was doubtful when we got the ’71 Bug and looked inside that more than that could possibly fit.”

But about 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, 17 people twisted and turned and squeezed into the small VW, remaining in the pretzel-like mound with the doors and windows shut for 5 seconds --- breaking the world record.

“We didn’t even know there were 17 in there until they started literally pulling the arms and legs out doors,” Hedman said. “It was great. The DJ started playing ‘We Are the Champions’ and the crowd and participants started whooping and hollering and giving high-fives.”

To be an official attempt, Guinness Book of World Records™ requires various forms of documentation to make sure its requirements were met, Hedman said. That includes all persons being 18 or older and taller than 5 feet. The Bug Jam participants ranged in ages from 19 to 56 and from 5-feet-1 to 6 foot tall.

“We have sent the required documentation and are now just waiting to hear back from Guinness for the official word,” Hedman said.

Other winners at the Bug Jam included the 1952 Beetle owned by Lindy Herrell of Carrollton, GA. It took home Best of Show honors, along with best interior. Other awards went to Tee and Evelyn Watkins, of Bardstown, KY, with a 1973 Thing for the best engine; Kevin Arsenean, of Chugiak, AS, 1965 21-Window Microbus, best paint; and Donna Morse, of Lyndon, IL, 2000 Beetle GIS, best display.

A crowd of more than 7,000 attended the Bug Jam, held annually on the second Sunday of November at the 40-acre Pasco County Fairgrounds.

The Bug Jam is organized by the non-profit Pasco County Fair Association Inc., a 501 (c) 3 organization, and all proceeds go to non-profit organizations, including All Children’s Hospital that has received nearly $200,000 since the Bug Jam was conceived 21 years ago. It is also supported, in part, by the Pasco County Tourist Development Council.

For more information about the Bug Jam, call the Pasco Fair Office, (352) 567-6678, e-mail bugjam@pascocountyfair.com, or visit the Web site: http://www.pascobugjam.com/.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Symphony in Lights Returns to Wiregrass

Combine 250,000 lights, Trans-Siberian Orchestra music plus computer-animation and you have an exciting new holiday tradition for Pasco County. With a quarter of a million LED lights, 1,000 watts of sound, and 10 tons of holiday d├ęcor combine to create “Symphony in Lights,” one unbelievable holiday experience that returns to The Shops at Wiregrass on November 21st and runs nightly through December 31.

To celebrate the show’s kick off on November 21, a concert will be held in Center Court featuring The Alan Darcy Group that will play throughout the night. The Shops at Wiregrass, Pasco's newest Town Center shopping destination, is located at SR56 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Wesley Chapel.

The twinkling, blinking, ever-moving, computer-programmed extravaganza, choreographed to the holiday music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO), runs four times per evening, every hour on the hour, beginning at 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

“Symphony In Lights” illuminates the night with the area's newest holiday tradition, a show that’s simply unlike anything that currently exists in the Greater Tampa/St. Pete area,” said Greg Lenners, general manager, The Shops at Wiregrass. “The Center will be trimmed top to bottom with 250,000 LED lights that only take as much energy to run nightly as it takes to light a single home. ‘Symphony in Lights’ will delight the whole family and is well worth the trip, no matter where you live in the area,” he added.

The first “Symphony in Lights” was created in Mason, Ohio, when holiday light hobbyist Carson Williams conceived a fantastically creative light show on his home, set to the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It made its way across the United States via the Internet appearing on The Today Show, Ellen DeGeneres, the Miller Lite beer commercial and You Tube, drawing the attention of developer Forest City, owner and manager of The Shops at Wiregrass and other centers across the country.

Forest City was so inspired by Carson’s creativity, that they partnered with him and brought in professional designer John Carter from Parker 3-D.com to create commercial-sized, choreographed lighting exhibits set to the music of TSO.
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