Planning for Spring Fest 7 began almost at the same time registration opened on January 1, 2012. West Coast Challengers has grown enormously since the last Spring Fest event, so the need for a staging area became even more important. The club had members coming from as far away as Fresno to the North, San Diego to the South and Kingman, Arizona to the East. Covering an area of some 50,000 square miles of the west coast.

Watching the numbers of registrations grow on a daily basis and the immediate interest in the event from club members, many of whom would be attending Spring Fest for the very first time, we knew our presence at Spring Fest would be huge and would be setting a record for one club fielding so many Dodge Challengers at a single event.

With the event finally drawing near, final plans were made and all of those members who expressed interest in the event were notified of the meeting location and time.

The Spring Fest event is hosted by the SoCalLX car club, and is now fully supported by Chrysler and Dodge, and this year Mopar as well. It is really a multi-day day event consisting of the Thursday night meet and greet at Beach Burgers in Huntington Beach, CA, where a dozen of our club members showed up with many of them finding parking right out front. The second event on the list is a lunch and tour of US Wheels in Santa Fe Springs, CA. The third event is the Friday night gala at the Doubletree Hotel in Irvine, CA, where Spring Fest attendees pretty much take over the hotel, from the rooms to the room key cards to the decorations within the hotel. West Coast Challengers again had about a dozen club members attend the festivities, many of whom stayed at the hotel and were lucky enough to receive rooms overlooking the parking lot to witness the festivities going on down there.

Spring Fest invades the Doubletree Hotel in Irvine

All of this leads up to the main event, Spring Fest, which would once again be held on the runway of the now decommissioned El Toro Marine Base in Irvine, CA, which has since been incorporated into the newly developed Orange County Great Park.

West Coast Challengers car club staging for Spring Fest 7

The club chose a Starbuck’s coffee location just North of the event in which to stage our cars. Prior to rolling out we passed out our new club t-shirts and window decals, and then had a quick gathering to explain the route that we were taking and our staging plans once inside of the event. At 8:15 a.m., more than 50 Dodge Challengers began to slowly roll out and through the streets of Irvine.

West Coast Challengers car club rolling into Spring Fest 7

West Coast Challengers was the first Challenger club to arrive at Spring Fest and certainly the one with the most cars, so we were afforded the first row. As the first of our cars parked in their assigned spots, the trail of Challengers had wrapped down the length of the airfield, back up again and around the corner. Truly an amazing turn out of club members from both near and far.

West Coast Challengers car club at Spring Fest 7

West Coast Challengers car club at Spring Fest 7

Once everyone was parked, the club members quickly took to task in putting up several easy-ups and the club banners were unfurled and hoisted up in pride. Tables were then set up and morning donuts as well as snacks ranging from finger foods to cookies were laid out for the members to enjoy throughout the day courtesy of the ladies of West Coast Challengers.

West Coast Challengers cookies for Spring Fest 7

Now set up, the club members relaxed a bit while watching the other clubs and attendees begin to roll in. As we learned from past Spring Fest events, many in the club took off to find the Billet Technology booth in search of deals that Billet Tech is known to bring with them to the event. More than a few club members returned several hundred dollars lighter in the wallet and immediately showed off their purchases.

Billet Technology display table at Spring Fest 7

From this point, over 100 West Coast Challengers club members and guests spread like the wind over the event to take in the sights and attractions that Spring Fest has to offer those in attendance, from the SRT Driving Experience to drifting exhibitions and ride alongs to all of the modern Mopars on display.

Spring Fest 7

Spring Fest 7

Throughout the day, as one club member would leave for work or personal reasons, another club members would roll in at what seemed like the same exact moment to where we just slipped the newly arriving club member into the vacant space which kept our lines intact all throughout the day.

West Coast Challengers car club with Ralph Gilles at Spring Fest 7

Later in the afternoon, Ralph Gilles, the former President of Dodge and now the head of the newly formed SRT division, stopped by to say hello and introduce himself and autograph some of the club members’ cars. After which, we gathered up what club members we could from nearby and formed up around the club banner leaving a spot for Ralph in the middle. Seeing those in the front kneeling, he wasn’t having any part of standing in the middle and instead insisted on sitting in the middle, Indian style, saying that he was one of us, which he truly is. After a few pictures, Ralph turned around, took pen in hand and without even being asked, autographed our club banner together with the note, “Thank you!”

West Coast Challengers car club with Ralph Gilles at Spring Fest 7

West Coast Challengers car banner autographed by Ralph Gilles

Ralph’s visit to the club was the highlight of the event for some and also a disappointment for many who missed meeting him because they were off enjoying other parts of the event when he paid us a visit. For them, there is always next year to look forward to.

As the afternoon wore on, the 1,000 cars in attendance began dissipating slowly. By early evening, West Coast Challengers was the only club remaining, and like last year, were the last attendees to leave the event.

Whether their first or fourth time attending the annual Spring Fest event, the club members all left just as excited and when they arrived. As Tamara (aka ChargerGirl) so eloquently Tweeted after the event, “The sunburns and sore muscles might last a few days, but the memories of Spring Fest will last forever.”

Some more pictures from the Spring Fest 7 event can be found in our club photo gallery.

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  1. […] We have included a write up about the event as well as a few pictures which can be found here. Enjoy! […]