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Dear Friends,

It was the spring of 2004 when Sandy and I were introduced to the Kokomo Downtown Association. They had been promoting their Oktoberfest that occurred in the streets of our downtown area. We had an idea to incorporate a Volkswagen Cruise-In with their event to memorialize the late Roger S. Wright that had recently passed away.  I petitioned the KDA with this idea and they welcomed that idea and the rest is history. 


We’re led to believe that the best approach to life is to “never give up.” And while perseverance and grit are essential to success, so is knowing when to walk away. As I had mentioned in my opening statement, the Oktoberfest Volkswagen Cruise-In was birthed in 2004, which was prior to the existence of the City of Firsts Volkswagen Club. Our mission was to memorialize the late Roger S. Wright who owned a local Volkswagen garage known as The Beetle Shop. I worked for Roger as a mechanic in my high school years where I learned more than the tricks of the trade, I learned the trade! Roger Wright was an incredible guy who passed away in 2004 and we wanted to do something in his memory. That is when the Roger S. Wright Oktoberfest Volkswagen Cruise-In was born.

Sandy and I live and operate by the motto, “You are only as good as your last performance.” With this in mind, we sought to make each Oktoberfest memorable enough that people would want to come back. The City of Firsts Volkswagen Club was formed in 2005 and was comprised of a great group of people who were the backbone of the Roger S. Wright Oktoberfest Volkswagen Cruise-In. Oh, those were the days! We were a young 48 years of age, full of vim and vigor. Fifteen years have passed: oh my, how things have changed! We retired in 2019, are at the doorstep of being eligible for Social Security and are experiencing new aches and pains every day. We do, however, have more Volkswagens.

How can you tell if throwing in the towel is the right thing to do? If we had considered quitting every time events didn’t go the way we liked, or our expectations were not fully met, we would never have gotten much done. But we remained focused and kept our eye on the prize and have experienced fifteen years of success with a great Volkswagen Club behind us all the way.  Over the past several years, as planning has become more and more complicated, we have asked ourselves countless times - when is enough enough? 

Well, we have our answer. The 15th Annual Roger S. Wright Oktoberfest Volkswagen Cruise-In, held this past September, was our last hurrah. The curtain has closed on this performance. The 2020 season is set, and there are no plans for marshalling the troops to start the big wheels of Oktoberfest in motion. We are at peace making this announcement and we are so thankful to God for all His provisions over the past decade and a half. Please be mindful, all good things must come to an end. Just as we have put our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies into all the preparations (and t-shirts!) of past Oktoberfests, Sandy and I hope to put that same effort toward our retirement, as we enjoy the beauty that God has set before us. 

We firmly believe the time is now to bring this big, crazy, happy party to an end. It has been a great fifteen years, and the memories will last a lifetime.

We personally want to say “Thank You” for all the support you have provided over the years. Without your generosity this event would have never gotten off the ground. We appreciate you sharing our vision over the past several years and we could not have pulled these events off without your help and support. We are certainly thankful for the relationship which we have cultivated with you and will be eternally grateful. 

The City of Firsts Volkswagen Club will be our primary focus going forward. This club is incredible, we treasure all the members associated with it! We will continue to work in a leadership capacity and look forward to serving you. Once again, we are eternally grateful for the friendships that we have developed and want you to know that we love each and every one of you!

Garry & Sandy McNew

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