If the Wellborn Musclecar Museum is Mopar Mecca, then the annual Spring Festival of LXs (Spring Fest for short) is, without a doubt, modern Mopar Mecca. 2005 to present Dodge Charger, Challenger, Magnum and Chrysler 300 owners from across the United States, Canada, and as far away as Germany migrate westward to showcase their customized LX and LC vehicles. (LX, for those out there who dont know, is the designated name of platform shared by the Dodge Charger, Magnum and Chrysler 300 from 2005-2010. LC is the platform designation given to the Dodge Challenger, built on a shortened version of the LX platform).
Spring Fest, however, is so much more than just a gathering; it is THE PREMIER LX/LC (and soon to be LD) EVENT PERIOD. Enthusiasm for the following years event begins the moment the current years event ends. Pages upon pages of posts begin to appear at LXForums.com and by the time registration opened on January 1 of this year, anticipation had built to a fever pitch. Just five days into registration, and we have 249 vehicles registered, said Spring Festival Organizer John Fortuno. Were expecting close to 500 by the end of January and ultimately, were planning for 1,000 cars to be present for Spring Fest 6 on March 26, 2011.
Fortuno has been a part of the Spring Festival of LXs since its inception. In 2004, after purchasing my 2005 Chrysler 300c, I got involved in the online LX community, he said. Taking on the screen-name Fat Chance, John became a staple on the LX Forums. John, and his super-modified 300c (pictured below) are legendary within the LX and aftermarket modification communities.
The general consensus on the forums was that everyone wanted to get together and do something, a meet of some kind, but no one had any concrete plans. I put everything into motion by selecting the date, time and venue for the event to take place, and the rest is history, he told us.
What began in 2004 as a four-car meet, quickly grew. Once the event got the attention of Chrysler, thanks to West Coast PR Manager, Scott Brown, attendance more than doubled. From 2006 to 2007 numbers rose from close to 100 cars to more than 300 cars. Attendance continued to increase exponentially from each year to the next, with last years numbers topping 600 and this years expected 1,000 registrations.
Members of Chryslers design, engineering, public relations, and brand management teams all make appearances at Spring Fest, and even CEOs like Ralph Gilles himself are planned to be present, intermingling with attendees, answering questions, talking shop, and taking in the LX/LC culture. Vendors catering to the LX/LC product line come out in droves, the Doubletree Hotel Irvine-Spectrum is sold out, and although the official event is on a Saturday, festivities begin Thursday evening and dont wrap until Sunday afternoon.
Video footage from last years Spring Fest can be viewed below:
In my wildest dreams, I never expected it to become as big as it has, John said. Wed never have been able to put on an event of this magnitude without the support of Chrysler, but it really all comes down to the passion of the people who own and love these cars.
This passion is evidenced by the fact that, LX/LC owners and enthusiasts come from far and wide. Most drive, often times in groups of a dozen or more cars. A caravan of Chrysler products traversing the highways of the United States is quite a sight, nothing ever made our interstate system look sooo good!
Final destination? Southern California, The El Toro Marine Air Base at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, to be exact. Early on, the event was held at the Chryslers West Coast Business Center, but attendance quickly outgrew the lot accommodations and eventually even the overflow lot didnt offer the necessary space.
The Doubletree Hotel turns into the central hub for all Spring Fest activities and the parking lot could be mistaken for the event itself.
The host club, So-Cal LX http://socallx.com/, coordinates with the hotel and other local venues to pull out all of the stops, hosting a meet and greet Thursday evening, a kick-off party on Friday evening, providing detailing services from OC Auto Detail all day Friday and Saturday morning, and a post-Spring Fest dinner on Saturday night.
With the introduction of the All-New 2011 Dodge Charger, and 2011 Chrysler 300, this years Spring Fest is sure to offer up some exciting eye candy. Wheels are already spinning on the forums about new and exciting ways to individualize the newest incarnations of these nameplates and enhance performance. LX, LD, tom?to, to-mah-to, we here at Dodge cant wait for Spring Fest 6.