ELKHORN, Wis – Labor Day in the Midwest is often considered as the unofficial end of the car show season for outdoor enthusiast events. For some die-hards, they do their best to delay the winterization of their pride and joy by planning impromptu meetups before the weather forces them into storage for the winter. This was exactly the case for a select few Focus and Fiesta fanatics that gathered at the 2018 FocusFest event held at Cordova, Illinois, over Labor Day weekend. Members of the Chicagoland ST group met a few other regional clubs at this year’s FocusFest, and they decided to organize a fall cruise and show for October. Collin Mikottis, a Chicagoland ST Group member, describes the obstacles they overcame to host their impromptu meet-up below, and also shares the photos taken by their photographer Matt Zerkel:
“It never ceases to amaze me how fast a community can pull together and make an event like this, for enthusiast by enthusiasts. This event was conceived at FocusFest where members from The Chicagoland ST group as well as other Midwest groups discussed the idea of having another big event for ST and RS enthusiasts in the region. There were some issues initially as with any event that needs to evolve from an idea to a final product before the car show season begins to wind down in 2 short months”
“The biggest initial challenge we faced was a location for the event. Everyone agreed that Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, would make a perfect backdrop for a season-closer. However, coming up with any sort of permit for a picnic area with this short notice was out of the question. That’s when Elkhorn Motors in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, stepped up! They offered to open up their dealership on Saturday October 22nd and allow us to have this event on their property. This created the perfect location for not just ST and RS enthusiasts, but any Ford Performance enthusiasts in the area. Next, we decided to sell shirts and hoodies to promote the event, and anyone who bought one would get a food voucher included. This not only allowed everyone to have a great commemorative shirt from the day, it also allowed us to feed everyone and offset the cost of food. The menu included a pig roast which got everyone excited as well.
“The stage was set and everything was planned to perfection. As a result, over 150 people RSVP’d to attend this Midwest ST and RS gathering. We were shocked at the number of registrants – especially with the short turnaround we had to plan and manage this event and make everything come together.
“But that’s when disaster struck -- the worst thing possible for any car show: Rain in the forecast! As show-day approached, the threat of rain appeared to be more and more of a reality. Despite the forecast, members of the Chicagoland ST groups departed from Schaumburg, Illinois, for the drive to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, on an overcast Sunday morning in October. The trip was worth it, as everyone was pleasantly surprised that more than 100 enthusiasts braved the rain and came out to support us and attend the event that we worked so hard to put on.
“While it wasn't a blue-sky day, it was still a day filled with fun, laughs and cars. People came out and enjoyed food, raffles and just being in the company of fellow enthusiasts who love these awesome little cars as much as the rest of us do! I don't usually think that we have anything special going on here; we all just love cars and enjoy sharing that passion with each other. But after experiencing our fall Midwest Meetup, I guess we DO have something special going on here in our little Chicagoland ST and Midwest ST Family.”
WORDS COURTESY COLLIN MIKOTTIS / PHOTOS COURTESY MATT ZERKEL