Spring marks the return of warmer weather, birds singing and flowers blooming. For West Coast Challengers, it signals the return of the Spring Festival in Irvine, CA. This year marked the 8th year of the annual festival with 389 Challengers registered to attend. Out of those cars, West Coast Challengers accounted for 100 of them. In other words, 1 in 4 Dodge Challengers present at the event and 1 in 10 of all modern Mopars was from West Coast Challengers. A staggering number for any club and it certainly shattered our club attendance last year with 50 Challengers.

West Coast Challengers rolling into meeting place

Just like last year, planning for this years’ Spring Fest 8 began as soon as registration for the event opened on January 1st. Trying to find a parking lot to fit 100 cars let alone getting authorization to use it is a feat in and of itself. Last year while out spotting locations we spied a parking lot being graded for new construction just off of Sand Canyon Avenue just around the corner from the event. The location was ideal and recently completed. With that major obstacle out of the way, the club set things in motion with regard to the club’s snack table, refreshments, ez-ups for shade, and the pre-Spring Fest activities and events.

The Spring Fest event is hosted by the SoCalLX car club, and is now fully supported by Chrysler and Dodge. Spring Fest is really a multi-day event which begins the Thursday night before the main event with a meet and greet at Beach Burgers in Huntington Beach, CA. The second event to take place 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 to the parking lot. This year, in addition to the parking lot festivities going on, the club made a banquet reservation for dinner at the hotel and invited some friends of the club to join us, some of whom we had not seen since last year’s Spring Fest event.

The final and main event is, of course, the Spring Festival, which was once again be held on the runway of the now decommissioned El Toro Marine Base in Irvine, CA, which has since been transformed into the Orange County Great Park.

West Coast Challengers car club staging for Spring Fest 8

Club members began arriving at our meeting location before the sun was even up giving them plenty of time to chat with fellow club members and do some final car detailing before rolling out for the event at 8:00 am.

Watching 100 Dodge Challengers roll out of the parking lot in unison to form a single line as far as the eye can see is truly something to behold. Club members always take pride in being part of that long line of Challengers at events and cruising down the highway.

West Coast Challengers car club rolling into Spring Fest 8

When West Coast Challengers arrived at the event and waited for directions to where we would be parking, looking back from the lead car, the line of club members stretched down the runway, across the access road and out and around the main road. So long was our line of Dodge Challengers that the Irvine Police Department rolled up on the tail end of our group and asked if we had radios. Soon the radio crackled, “Move faster, Irvine PD wants us off of the road — we’re blocking traffic back here!”

Once the first 30 or so cars were parked it became quickly apparent that an entirely new parking row would be needed to hold all of us. All said and done, our club ended up taking up four rows of parking just by itself, and we still needed more room for our club members who would be arriving a little later in the morning.

West Coast Challengers car club at Spring Fest 8

Parking that many cars took about 20 minutes but once accomplished, everyone began setting up ez-ups at the head and tail of each row of parking. Our tables were then set up, the club banners unfurled and the snacks and treats laid out for club members and guests to munch on during the day. This year in addition to her famous Mopar cookies, club member Julie made us some signature SRT, R/T and SE cookies.

Snacks and refreshments were endless under the West Coast Challengers banner, but we weren’t here for snacks. It was time to set the masses loose on Spring Fest. Just like watching a concert let out, hundreds of West Coast Challengers club members, friends and guests took off in as many different ways. Destination fun.

With over 1,000 cars in attendance, and each as unique as its owner, club members walked miles of runway, up and down the endless rows of modern Mopars on display.

West Coast Challengers car club members with Ralph Gilles

SRT division President, Ralph Gilles, Chrysler Brand CEO, Saad Chehab, and members of the SRT Design team, all paid us multiple visits throughout the day as well as they walked down the rows of Dodge Challengers while autographing many for the club members and posing for photographs with us.

West Coast Challengers car club members with Ralph Gilles

Ralph is such a down to earth guy, that everyone enjoys his presence. Club member Mike got a kick out of having Ralph send out a Tweet with a picture of his car as did other club members as Ralph did the same thing for them. When he first approached our cars, he came across club member Nolan and apologized about the SRT drift team and SRT Driving Experience not being present this year at the event. Apparently they were tied up at Laguna Seca for another event and Ralph said that he would make certain that both would be back next year.

The Chrysler Media team were also on hand and interviewed club members Dave and Leo for inclusion into their social media and video blog coverage of Spring Fest.

SRT 392 Charger appearance package

As with the last four Spring Fest events, Chrysler rolled out a never before seen model. This year we bore witness to the new SRT 392 Appearance Package for the Dodge Charger with its black accents running down the hood, roof and tail and topped off with a black grill, rear spoiler and smoke colored wheels.

All throughout the event, prizes were being raffled off. Club members were very lucky winning dozens of prizes from a custom TruFiber hood to discounts on USW Wheels and Oracle Lighting systems to three $100 gift certificates from Billet Technology, as well as other prizes.

West Coast Challengers car club

As the afternoon wore on, the 1,000 cars in attendance began dissipating slowly. By early evening, West Coast Challengers was still on the runway while many others had departed, and like past years, we seemed to be the last club to leave the event.

For some club members, this was their fifth Spring Fest event and for others their very first. Regardless of the number, Spring Fest always allows us to gather as a club, show off our cars and visit with both our fellow club members and friends from both near and far away, to talk about cars and share some laughs, compare modifications while getting ideas for new ones — and that’s what being a Mopar owner is all about.

Here is a great video of the day with West Coast Challengers at Spring Fest 8. Enjoy!

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  1. […] are some more photos and write up from Spring Fest 8! 2013 Spring Festival of LX's || West Coast Challengers Cant wait to see all our old friends again and all the new ones we made again next year! […]

  2. […] am sad that I missed Spring Fest 8 but I am grateful for all the pictures and videos that my car club posted of the event. I am sore […]