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Interview with Kathy Jacobs - VW Show and Swap Meet

Bill McNeal / June 20, 2019
This weekend, South East Euro Motorsports will hold the coolest event of the summer...Volksfest #6! The event runs from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Saturday, June 22nd. The cost is $10 for adults, and children 12 and under are free!

This isn't just any car show, it's also a swap meet! 20+ vendors will be on hand with both old and new Volkswagen parts available for sale or trade. In addition to the car show and swap meet, there will be a kids area, special door prizes, 50/50 raffle benefiting the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation, and Top 40 awards! Kathy Jacobs is a VW owner, enthusiast, and operator of Volksfest. She spoke to us this week about how the event has changed since it was first held in 2013, how many Volkswagens she owns, and what we can expect to see at this year's show.

Kathy, this is Summer Volksfest #6. Would I be correct to assume the "6" represents the number of years you’ve held this event?

Yes, that’s correct.

Since you held your first event, how has it grown or changed over the years?

It hasn’t really changed so much, as I’ve seen more and more people getting involved with it because it is held inside. We started off with just one building, and now we take up two buildings. Our attendees see this as an opportunity to go to an event that’s inside, and they’re not sweating to death. I don’t want to do a show outside in the summer if I don’t have to.

Most car shows seem to be held outside. Is it becoming more common to hold them indoors?

No, not really. Volkswagen-wise, there’s not too many car shows indoors. I hold another Volkswagen car show in Raleigh, North Carolina too that’s inside at their fairgrounds in the winter. Holding the event indoors gets people more involved because there aren’t typically as many car shows held in the summer and winter, as there are spring and fall because of the weather.

How many Volkswagens do you expect to participate in this year’s event?

We usually have anywhere from 100-120 cars inside for the show and swap meet, and another 50-75 Volkswagens will be outside, brought by people that just came to spectate.

Now you mentioned this is a VW Show and Swap Meet. For those that aren’t familiar with the term, what is a “Swap Meet”?

A Swap Meet is where people come bring their parts for their cars whether it be newer Volkswagens or the older air-cooled ones. The owners set up a table and sell their parts. Air-cooled refers to cars like the VW Beetles and Buses, and water-cooled would be anything new, essentially from the 1980’s going forward. So we’ll have a mixture of both new and old parts for Volkswagens.

Ah ok. That makes sense. Now I was anticipating Volksfest would be a show for people looking to sell their VW’s or buy VW’s, does that occur there as well?

Yes, that’s true too! Someone always has a car for sale, but it’s mainly for parts.

How many vendors do you expect to attend this year’s event?

We’ll have around 20 vendors this year. That’s a mixture of new and used merchandise. We’ll have people selling shirts. We have a soap vendor that's bringing a VW Vanagon Camper.

At a car show you’re likely to see a car you’ve never seen before, is there one memorable Volkswagen that’s stood out to you since the show began?

Oh, there’s really too many to count. I do know we’re having one VW though that was just completed earlier this year that’s a Volkswagen Beetle with a lot of copper accents on the car and the engine. We have a local Jacksonville VW owner that’s coming out with his Volkswagen Fridolin, which is a German mail truck, and it’s fully customized.

So as someone that puts on numerous Volkswagen shows a year, what are you driving? Is a VW your daily driver?

Oh yeah, that’s pretty much all I have. LOL. I have a customized orange 2002 VW Golf with a plaid roof. I also have a 2015 VW Golf R, that’s a performance car, and we have a ’74 VW Thing and a ’65 VW Bus…I could go on and on.

Wow! Well you have a number of VW’s now, what was your first Volkswagen?

A ’70 Karmann Ghia.

Not to date yourself, but when did you purchase that?

Nineeeeeety three…four. Nintey four.

1994? Do you still have it?

No, it was involved in an accident. Unfortunately it was totaled.

When you’re not organizing VW Shows and Swap Meets, what do you do, Kathy?

I work at a Volkswagen dealership in Valdosta, Georgia, and I hold our VW show in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’ve been organizing VW shows since 1997, and hold at least 6 shows a year. We used to have a car show at Jacksonville Beach in the late 90's to early 2000's. I've also started a drag racing points show combined with the car show and swap meet, but we haven’t held one of those in Florida yet.

With Volksfest being held this weekend, it may be a little late to enter. But if someone’s interested in participating in an event later this year or next year, when and how is the best way to reach out to you?

I have about 80 cars preregistered, but they’re more than welcome if they want to participate to come inside. I always take day-of-show entries as long as I have room, that’s not a problem.

Is the best way for someone to contact you to participate through the website or Facebook?

Either one really. We can be reached through the website or Facebook Messenger.

[ Facebook.com/SouthEastEuroMotorsports or www.SouthEastEuroMotorsports.com ]

Is there anything in particular first-time attendees should know about attending the event or anything they must see when they’re here?

Everything’s pretty much contained inside, but there will be some Volkswagens outside as well, usually under the shade trees. LOL. People will see a lot of vehicles they’ve likely never seen before.

Kathy, thanks again. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to speak with me.

Not a problem! Thank you.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

About the Author

Bill McNeal / Digital Media Coordinator

As the Digital Media Coordinator, Bill's responsibilities are all things digital [of course] here at the Jacksonville Fair. That includes social media, web, video, and all online ticket sales. Bill works closely with Vice President of Marketing Gayle Hart to ensure our customers know about all of their favorite events at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, as well as the annual Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair held here each fall since 1955.

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