The Fun is over for another year. The Corvette Funfest, that is.
Corvette owners by the thousands poured into Effingham, Illinois last month for Mid America Motorworks’ 19th annual Corvette Funfest.
And the Effingham Daily News is reporting that the event once again more than lived up to its name.
“We just like coming out here and hanging out with everyone who has similar interests,” said John Deffenvaugh. “It’s all about sharing your life with other Corvette lovers.”
He and his wife Dana won a Celebrity Choice award with their blue 1966 convertible Stingray, but the camaraderie with other Corvette enthusiasts was the biggest prize for them.
The economy in Effingham picked up a prize, too, with local hotels and restaurants reporting brisk business thanks to the Funfest.
Just ask Corvette owner Brenda Murphy, who says she’s been coming to the festival for about 10 years.
“When we come in, we’re greeted by the people at this hotel who know us from last year,” said Murphy outside the Comfort Suites hotel on 1310 W. Fayette St., sitting with her husband Jim and a group of friends. “We get to know them, they know us.”
Murphy isn’t alone in her enthusiasm for Effingham and the Funfest.
In fact, a 2009 study found that the event generated at least $4.1 million in revenue with more than 17,000 people eating, sleeping, and buying merchandise.
At this year’s event was a typical attendee, Mike McGuirk. He and his son drove two Corvettes to the show, a 1962 and a 2002, and Mike pointed out that Effingham is a “really nice play to come.”
Murphy agreed with that analysis, referring to her fellow Corvette enthusiasts as her “brother and sisters” even though they’re not related.
“This is a family reunion,” she said. “We’ve had weddings here in the parking lot, we had a wedding reception here in the parking lot with a cake. We even had a divorce here once.”
Pete McAllister, who won two awards with his 1996 blue Grand Sport – a Celebrity Choice and the Chief’s Choice, says the Funfest is a “real well put on event. It’s in a nice open area that people can congregate and come together in. You just get to get together with the other enthusiasts just to talk.”
John Deffenvaugh vows to return next year and offers up this message to his fellow Corvette fanatics: “If you have a Corvette and you’re not coming here, you’re missing out.”
Check out these photos from Mid America Motorworks:
Unique Corvette Memorabilia Items to be Included in the 100th Anniversary Time Capsule
Mid America Motorworks Announces Slate of Entertainment for Corvette FunFest
Corvette FunFest: Calling All ’63 Sting Ray Corvettes!