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February Article of the Month – BerettaFest 2012: A Look Back

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The 16th annual BerettaFest was hosted in Traverse City, MI from June 21-24th, 2012.  Looking back, the event was another huge success!  It was 4 days of hanging out with old friends, while at the same time making new ones.  Old traditions survived, and even a few new ones may have squeezed their way into the fold!

The weekend kicked off “unofficially” on wednesday night, when some of us early birds were again treated to the relatively new tradition of the BerettaFest Taco Bar, hosted by Ryan H. (Styluss on the message board).  This newest tradition, with only a $5 donation to the taco fund, is quickly becoming a popular reason to actually be early to BerettaFest!  Its a great way to kick off the long weekend, and I personally hope it is around for a long time.

Thursday June 21st officially kicked off BerettaFest 2012, with registration check-in at the hotel parking lot.  Our hotel, a Great Wolf Lodge, really rolled out the red carpet for us!  They blocked off a section of the parking lot with cones just for Berettas, and checked in with the group throughout the weekend to see if we needed anything.  They also were one of the sponsors of BerettaFest through a donation of one free night’s stay to be raffled off within the group, and a group rate that took off $100 per night per room!  We were all very satisfied with the hotel choice!  Thursday evening, some of us took to the track at a local amusement park, Pirate’s Cove.  While the go-karts weren’t the high speed must-wear-racing-suits-and-helmets kind we have had the past few years, they were a lot of fun and gave some of our younger kids the opportunity to go racing as well!  We also made sure to hit the bumper boats with the kids, and go on the zipline as well!  That evening a large group of members ate at a local supper club, which after we all ate decided that karaoke was a good idea…  14 drinks later, a very humorous “Cartman” version of “Come Sail Away” karaoke, and an adventurous ride back to the hotel (in the passenger seat), Pat B. (Travelor) from WI would earn the “Watermelon Award” as the goofiest/wackiest/zaniest member at BerettaFest!

Friday June 22nd started out with a scavenger hunt put together by our hosts Chris L. (DTMAce), and Kyle A.  We drove around Traverse City trying to find certain landmarks or points of interest.  Once found, we were to take a picture of our provided beanie baby with the point of interest!  Style points were encouraged, and a panel of members eventually voted Geoff M. (heavywoody) as the winner of the best photos!  During the middle of the day most of our attendees went on a scenic cruise of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and surrounding area, while some stayed at the hotel and enjoyed the indoor waterpark.  It was on that scenic drive that the weekend’s main “speedbump” occured!  With a swift shift of a Getrag gearbox, at 7000 rpm, Chad M. (Chad91GTZ) disintegrated his clutch in his ’92 GTZ.  Luckily, there were other members with tow vehicles and a tow dolly to help get it back to the hotel!  Once back, with the threat of rain cancelling our drag racing, it became clear that surgery would need to be performed on Chad’s GTZ.  A group of three members: Chad, Erich D. (Cack), and Geoff M. attacked the GTZ with ferocity to drop the transmission and change the clutch!  Most of the rest of the gang set up chairs, cracked open a frosty beverage, and became the official cheerleaders of BerettaFest…

Saturday June 23rd was the all day affair of the annual BerettaFest Car Show and Picnic.  Held at Sayler Park, it was a very scenic – and rustic – site to this long running tradition.  With Beretta’s scattered throughout the woods and inbetween trees, the grill was started and meat was cooked with a professional fervor that only our Tin Foil Award and Endless Ride Award winner, Ryan H. (Styluss), could deliver.  The food was excellent, the weather was reasonable, and everyone had a great time!  After filling our tanks up at the picnic, we all took to the field of Berettas to vote on who would win the various car show classes!

After voting for our favorite Berettas in a number of stock and custom classes, the Committee Chairman Mike P. took on the time honored tradition of announcing all our raffle winners and Car Show Class winners from atop an unsuspecting picnic table – a tradition dating back to the first violated picnic table in Louisville, KY in 2001!

Class Winners for 2012 were: Best Stock Exterior – Paul K.’s 1988 Red GTU, Best Stock Interior ’88-’90 – Ken W’s 1990 Teal Indy, Best Stock Interior ’91-’96 – Cliff S’s 1994 Black Quad4 Z26, Best Stock Engine Bay – Kyle A’s 1995 Z26, Best Custom Exterior –  Brad J’s 1990 Black GTZ with custom blue flame paint, Best Custom Interior ’88-’90 – Peggy C’s 1988 GT with custom blue and purple paint, Best Custom Interior ’91-’96 – Marc M’s (Bman) Black Z26, and Best Modified Engine Bay – Dustin B’s 1995 2.2L Base.  Our other fun award winners not already mentioned were Carl and Linda L. with the Garage Queen Award for lowest original miles at 42,936 mi, Chris L. with the Million Mile Award for highest original miles at 293,xxx mi, and last but not least Chris L. won the Gopher Award for stepping up huge and being a great host for BerettaFest 2012.

From the Picnic and Car Show our group of Beretta’s navigated the woods and off road travel to get back to the hotel for the annual group picture.  With rain closing in fast and a unique opportunity to shoot uphill at the cars instead of downhill or from above we managed to get a good shot in just before it poured on us!  Note the very blood-rushing-to-your-head dedication of some of our members to show their love to our little Chevys – thanks everyone!

Saturday night was of course the reason for the most celebrated event in all of BerettaFest – Chad M.’s Quazar GTZ survived the intense two day parking lot surgery, and was successfully reinstated into active duty!  Celebrations went deep into the night, and culminated in the first annual BerettaFest Bobsled runoffs!  Daring racers threw caution to the wind and their bodies down a sprinkler-slicked hill on real American made snow sleds!  Even our little junior BerettaFesters got involved in our Junior Class.  Everyone was champions, but mostly because no one got hurt!

Sunday June 24th brought about many early morning good-byes as most of our members hit some breakfast, and then the road as we said adieu to BerettaFest 2012 and Traverse City, MI.

As the N.E. Wisconsin caravan pulled into Green Bay that night, I thought about all the fun we had and how I just couldn’t wait for 2013.  I thought about how fortunate we were to have such a great member base, great sponsors in Great Wolf Lodge, Rock Auto, and Summit, and how everything came together.

I was also thinking about Chad, who was no doubt thankful that we have such great people who would help him in a time of need… Oh yea, and thankful that his GTZ made it all the way home without a hitch!

Until we meet again (or for the first time),

Mike Pride – Committee Chairman

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