In 2004 at South Hill Park LTV ran the first Dubs at the Park, we went along as punters and had a really good look around the 150 Volkswagens on show and left with some ideas of what to look for when we bought our first Beetle, fast forward to today and we were back once more as punters, the previous six events we’d been in orange t-shirts helping the hardy band of volunteers to organise and run one of the best one day events around. It was quite nice having a lazy wake up on Sunday, reading a few Facebook updates from the site as people were setting up. But by 10am we were on the road, the camper loaded with our gazebo and rations for the day. Rolling up the driveway we were descended on by the ultra efficient gate crew and parked up with the other club Dubs. With the gazebo unloaded and erected (with minutes to spare before the first of a couple of heavy showers soaked the site) we sat by in the camper for a drink and waited for Lily to wake up from her morning nap.
The new entry system for the show meant at the top of the drive all we saw was Beetles and Golfs queuing. The campers were being sent up the side drive. The result was a much shorter wait and no big tailbacks, a good lesson learnt from previous years!
After a natter to a few friends we set off with Katherine, Rich and Doug, NCT group friends who were at their first DATP and loving it. The problem with us and VW shows is that we know too many people, hence it takes for ever to get round as we have to keep stopping for a chat, but it all adds to the fun. First stop the traders, not needing any bits I kept my wallet firmly locked away, but was very tempted with a shiny new steering wheel and dashboard for the van from the first stall. Kim then managed to blag us a snack. A few weeks before the show she had spotted the Levi Roots “Reggae Reggae Sauce” van parked up in Sainsburys. The company use a new watercooled T2 for advertising and took no persuasion at all to come along to trade, in return we munched on nachos with a Roots special salsa Mmmm.
After ice cream number one of the day (thank you Katherine) we headed back to the van for a pitstop as Doug and Lily were getting hungry. I had a mission to go on though. One of the perks of being mates with the show organiser Stu, he asked if I was free for a high level photography session. So with a few other snappers as well as a cameraman we headed for the roof of Easthampstead Park. The view is stunning, nothing but trees as far as the eye can see. The damage from the recent forest fires evident. You’d never think the show was less than a mile from motorway.
The Manager surveying his show.
Our blue bay is hidden behind the coachbuilt corner!
With plenty of photos taken and the promise of a return trip when the winners cars lined up a few floors below I headed back to the camper for lunch and a well earned pint from the cold box.
With an extended lunch and chat we decided we better actually get off our backsides and see the rest of the show so headed for the side field and the campers.
Feeling warm we headed for the ice cream van again, pity some tubby bloke in orange jumped the queue!
It was a little windy on that side of the show as well, so we skirted the line ups and made for shelter again.
The back field was thinning out by the time we got there, but there was still enough to keep us busy. Mainly water cooled Golfs, the humble Beetle was a bit lacking this year. A sign of changing times in the VW world?
Feeling in need of a rest once more we headed back to the camper again. The beauty of the show is the ability to park right in the middle if the action, you’re never more than five minutes from a sit down! We passed the ever busy club stand and took the weight off our feet for half an hour. Before the others left for the day. I even had a chance to relieve myself of my pint from earlier!
The votes were all counted so we made our way back to the stage and awaited the results, the crowds gathered.
Bored of being at ground level I headed for the high vantage spot once more and spent a while taking in the view while the final awards were given out.
Finally with all the awards presented the winners were invited to drive up onto the gravel terrace for the remaining visitors to admire their rides.
I was joined shortly after by the rest of the snappers and we whiled away a good 15 minutes getting an unusual angle on the day.
I decided to head back down to see the winners up close. There will be another blog entry with the namesof all the winners when I can get a list together. In the mean time, well done to everyone that drove off with a trophy, nice to see some different vehicles winning this year. This Caddy won Best in Show.
All that was left to do was pack up the gazebo and the van and grab a cold drink with the crew, they all looked knackered but happy that another successful show was over, early rumours suggest around 2500 visitors, which from previous years means well over 1000 Dubs at the Park. I took the obligatory “crew photo” as they rested on the lawn and we said our goodbyes.
It was a very different experience for us, no running around sorting things out, no walking the full length of the drive several times during the morning. We saw the show as punters and it was brilliant, hats off to Stu and all the orange t-shirt crew for their hard work.
There are loads more photos here.
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