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/.

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