The 2010 PCA Parade has passed and I am already excited for the one in 2011. Before now, I had never attended a parade; this is something I regret because I had such a great time this past weekend! I’m sure there are Porsche Purist readers who haven’t attended a single parade – this post is for them. I’d like to write a little about my first Porsche Parade with the hope of convincing readers to make 2011 the year of their first Porsche Parade.
I’d first like to thank Mobil 1 for working with PorschePurist to send me to Chicago for the event! It was exciting to photograph and write alongside Christian and Valerie about a weekend filled with activities: from the Concours d’Elegance to the Time Speed Distance rally and everywhere in between, there was plenty to experience over the weekend!
Friday was uneventful for me – partially because I wasn’t at the parade yet. You see, the parade technically started on Thursday, July 1st for some people – those that drove their Porsches to the event! My flight to Chicago was early Saturday morning, so I had already missed out on two parade activities: driving there and interacting with fellow Porsche enthusiasts while washing my car. As I saw some of the car wash stations set up for the event, I made a mental note to myself to drive my car to the parade next year. For this year’s parade, my wife and I had a Hyundai rental car – which was okay for this year because everything was located (more or less) at the Pheasant Run resort. This is not always the case, as Valerie and Christian said last year’s parade in Colorado was spread out over several miles. Bottom line – bring your Porsche!
I noticed two things while checking into the hotel on Saturday morning. First, there were a lot of people who drove their Porsches in the day before! Second, Porsche Club of America went to great lengths to ensure attendees knew this was no ordinary vacation. Their attention to detail left rooms decorated in some way with something Porsche-related. Even the hotel room card keys were changed to reflect the spirit of the event!
Sunday was extremely hot, and though rain was predicted to head our way, it was light, lasting no more than five or ten minutes. This year’s Concours d’Elegance brought out some truly outstanding cars. If you’re a regular reader to Porsche Purist, I know you’ve already seen the photographs on Porsche Purist Flickr and Facebook pages. Please check those galleries if you haven’t already!
Monday the PorschePurist team of Valerie and Christian drove in the TSD rally in Valerie's track ready Cayman S (otherwise known as "Fritz"). Be sure to read about their adventure participating in the TSD as well as their coverage of the TSD educational meeting held prior to the event. I elected to keep the rental Hyundai parked, photographing rally participants’ triumphant return to the hotel instead! Looking back, I think I should have participated more, even if I wasn’t in my Porsche – next year, I won’t make that mistake again. Those who participated in the rally in cars without air conditioning – and there were many of you in early 911s, 914s, 356s – bravo! You deserve a little more recognition than the drivers with newer Porsches; the heat was almost as strong as it was on Sunday.
Porsche Parade Concourse Banquet
The Concours banquet was held on Monday evening. For me, it evoked feelings of both joy and sadness, because everyone speaking at the podium explained to the audience that the fun was only beginning for this week-long parade – yet I had to get up at 3:15AM for the flight home out of O’Hare Airport. The two things that really made this night special for me were the camaraderie and the sense of community I felt from everyone at the banquet. Everyone I spoke to was an instant friend, with a passion for the marquee and a story to tell.
Passion – there’s a word that couldn’t be used enough to describe the evening. Porsche Club of America celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. That means there have been 55 parade gatherings; there were a few people attending their 50th parade this year. That is true passion. One of PCA’s founding members was present, too. I would have wanted nothing more than to speak with some of the folks attending their 40th or 50th Porsche Parade. What were the early parades like? What’s changed the most in these parades – what hasn’t changed at all? Questions like these were racing in my mind. I wanted to talk to more people! I wanted to learn about the road trips and happenings of parades past, but a glance at my watch reminded me of other responsibilities.
The dinner party went on into the night, but I had to quietly slip out to pack my things. The great thing about having a job is that it affords one the opportunity to go to fun events like this one. The terrible thing about having a job is that one can’t always take a week off for a Porsche Parade. Before I left, I did manage to photograph the cars that won Sunday’s Concours. Below are the winners (if you're viewing via email, you may need to click on the title of this post to visit the site and see the picture slide show):
On a personal note, this was also the first PCA Parade for my wife, Andrea. Not so much an automotive enthusiast as she is stuck with one (for better or for worse!), we initially saw this trip as separate opportunities: For me, it would be a trip filled with cars, people, writing and photography. For her, it would be one of relaxation, a break from work with as few car encounters as possible. For better or for worse, right? All kidding aside, she quickly came around. I’m not saying she’s as obsessed as I am about Porsches, but she was pointing out the cars she wouldn’t mind us having in the future (I believe my third Porsche is now going to be a 964, as per my wife’s recommendation!). Andrea also assisted me with some of the photography during the Concours show. With all the cars that were on display, I was especially grateful to have her assistance.
Monday afternoon, she started to ask: “So when we come here next year…” She wants to spend a week with me at the 2011 Porsche Parade in Savannah, Georgia? I didn’t assume this would be something she’d want to do again, and here she is, looking forward to attending a parade for a full week! She claims it’s only because she wants to see Georgia, but I think we all know the real reason she wants to attend, don’t we?
It’s settled: Next year, I will attend the parade properly; driving my own Porsche to the event alongside my wife, with a week’s worth of luggage and everything I need to bring the event to FlatSixes.com!