Polka music greeted Volkswagen enthusiasts Saturday, as visitors admired vehicles lined up along the North End Entertainment District of Tahlequah for the second annual OKsWagen Festival.
Bugs, vans and Karmann Ghias shone in the morning sunlight. Children and adults took paint brushes in hand and added personal art to a Volkswagen parked in the middle of the street just to decorate as “Artswagon.”
Watching over the Artswagon, Donna Agee kept the paint containers filled. She said Artswagen was to entertain the little ones, while parents walked up and down the street, looking at cars.
“I do have a bug,” Agee said. “This is a fun event for the town. It’s grown from last year.”
A Yolkswagen egg toss and Quackswagen rubber duck race down Town Branch creek were scheduled for later, Agee said.
Terry and Collene Sanders, of Edmond, chatted with visitors like Patsy Smith, as they polished their yellow 1971 Karmann Ghia. This is their second year to participate.
“We love the small-town atmosphere, people are very friendly,” Terry Sanders said. “We’re members of the Tulsa club and wish our Chamber [and Mainstreet Association] showed half the interest yours does.”
Swapping stories was a popular aspect of the car show.
“My friend and I went in a Karmann Ghia like this one from Oklahoma City to New York and back in 1963,” Patsy Smith told the Sanders. “We traveled all over the United States in that car on other trips.”
Packing was easy, Smith said.
“We packed awesomely, we had [very little] room,” Smith said, “We never had a problem getting in and out of New York traffic.”
Everybody has a VW story, according to Terry Sanders.
Later in the day, the Sanders were awarded Best in Show.
Locals Lisa and Ryan Carter brought daughters Olivia, 9 and Maggie, 7, with their newly acquired “work in progress” VW beetle, which had recently been painted dark blue and green.
They came last year as visitors and had such a good time, they decided to find their own Volkswagen to fix up.
“I love an open top, but we found this one with a sun roof,” Lisa said. “My friends said blue and green wouldn’t work, but I had a vision in my head of what I wanted and told my husband.”
They received many compliments on the exterior colors.
Tammie Brassfield, of Park Hill, showed her yellow 1970 VW bug at the Tahlequah event for the second year.
“We usually go to Eureka Springs, but this is close to home,” Brassfield said as she blew bubbles to entertain granddaughter Maggy Lowry, 2.
“They’re lots of fun; I hardly drive with the top up."
Tahlequah Mainstreet Director Drew Haley said he thought they doubled last year’s participants. He was selling T-shirts and making announcements, welcoming visitors to town.
“Events like this bring people to town who haven’t been here before,” Haley said. “That brings business downtown, and increases revenue as they shop, eat and enjoy the day.”
To view a photo slideshow of OKsWagen events, visit the multimedia section at TahlequahTDP.com
Winners of the 2013 OKsWagen festival, held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12, in Tahlequah include:
Best in Show: Collene Sanders, Edmond, 1971 yellow Ghia.
People’s Choice Award: Schuyler Steelberg, Cookson, white 1971 Super Beetle convertible.
Farthest Distance Traveled: Dustin Keefer, Saginaw, Texas, 289 miles.
Best in Class, Special Interest (dune buggies, trikes etc.): Randee McBride, Tahlequah, 1974 root beer-colored Beetle to Buggy.
Best in Class Ghia: Collene Sanders, Edmond, 1971 yellow Ghia
Best in Class Bus 1967 and Earlier: Travis Woodard, Guthrie, 1959 Type 2, mango bus.
Best in Class Bus 1968 and up : Diane Anderson, Tahlequah, 1970 Camp mobile, blue and cream bus.
Best in Class Beetle 1957 and Earlier: David Ellis, Cane Hill, Ark., 1956 black and cream Karmann Cabriolet.
Best in Class Beetle 1958 through 1967: Larry Wattas, Owasso, 1963 Type 1 white Bug convertible.
Best in Class Beetle 1968 and Up: Brad Mohler, Oklahoma City, 1974 Olympic blue Super Beetle convertible.
Piece of Scrap Award: Laurance Schulze, Adair, 1968, patina, Beetle.