With Spring bringing in the beautiful weather of Southern California, it also marks the beginning of the car show season in the region. It also marks preparations for one of the largest modern Mopar events on the west coast, Spring Fest. For the past several years, no car club has brought more cars and more people to this event than West Coast Challengers, and this year was no different. Representing over 15% of all registered vehicles, 20% of all of the people in attendance, and 30% of all Dodge Challengers present, West Coast Challengers dominates this event.

Southwest Challengers, Desert Challengers and PDX Challengers, our sister clubs from around the nation, also joined us this year further adding to the Challenger dominance at this event.

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 over 130 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 sponsored by Chrysler and is really a multi-day event which begins the Thursday night before the main event with a meet and greet at a local burger joint, followed Friday night with a parking lot party at the Doubletree Hotel in Irvine, CA, and finally ending with the main event, Spring Fest.

In years past, Spring Fest was held on the runway of the now decommissioned El Toro Marine Base. However, just a few weeks before the scheduled date, the event was abruptly moved to the less inviting Verizon Amphitheater parking lot instead.

Where to stage over a hundred Dodge Challengers posed a problem for us but we have become accustomed to it due to our club size. We contacted a nearby shopping mall and they graciously set aside a portion of their parking lot for us. Soon, Dodge Challengers from all across the west coast begin rolling into the staging area creating a car show of our own. This gave the members of our sister clubs a chance to all get acquainted and put a face to many of the Challenger enthusiasts.

Each year the club reaches out to the SoCalLX people and let them know our anticipated numbers to see if they want to give us a special time in which to roll in because of our size, and each year the club is told to just show up whenever. The day of the event, as with years past, we sent a runner over to the entrance to let them know how many cars we have so that they can figure how where to park all of us. Once they figured that out, they gave us the green light to roll the caravan. The huge caravan of Dodge Challengers began pouring out of the staging area to form a single line stretching all the way from our staging area to the event itself more than a mile away. Looking more like a TV commercial for Dodge with Challengers as far as the eye can see, one by one, the club members entered the parking lot at the event.

Once we had all of our Challengers parked, preparations for setting up our ez-ups and tables were set up and refreshments for the members were laid out, and our club flag unfurled.

Once set up for the day, the club members quickly posed for a group photo before heading off in various directions.

Although this year’s Spring Fest event saw a rise in overall registrations, the actual number of attendees diminished over past years. With only about 800 vehicles in attendance this year, it still afforded the members a chance to see the various modern Mopar platforms and the individual modifications that others have done to make their car their own.

Absent the Chrysler executives walking around and interacting with the owners, this event lacks entertainment. Attendees are left with nothing to do the entire day. It has become more of a social media get together than the event it’s promoted to be each year. Over advertised and over embellished with promises of “being off the hook” and “the best ever” attendees are left watching and waiting for that one person bold enough to leave early, which sparks a mass exodus.

Shortly after lunch, the exodus began and by 2:00 pm, 75% of the attendees had left. So many had left early that it caused the event coordinators to cancel the raffle that usually ends the event. Once that news broke out, those few remaining quickly cleared out leaving a solitary stage and vendors breaking down their exhibits with an occasional piece of trash rolling across the desolate parking lot.

For some club members, this was their sixth Spring Fest event and for our newer members, their very first. While this year’s Spring Fest didn’t live up to the hype, it does allow us to gather as a club, visit with both our fellow club members and friends, meet some new ones, talk about cars while sharing a few laughs, and to compare vehicle modifications while getting ideas for new ones — and that’s the original intent of the event.

More photos from the event can be found in our club photo gallery.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter