This past weekend of March 10th-13th, 2016; hundreds upon hundreds of modern Mopars rolled into the Irvine, California area for the 11th annual Spring Festival of LX’s meet, also known as “Spring Fest” for short. Every March for the past 11 years, hundreds of Challengers, Chargers, Magnums, 300s, Grand Cherokee SRT8s and other various modern Mopars flood the streets of Irvine, California for the biggest modern Mopar meet on Earth! Every variance of modern Mopar you could imagine made an appearance. Colors ranging from Brilliant Black to Sublime Green with tons of reds and blues in between! Every power plant was covered from the 2.7L V6 to the 6.2L Supercharged Hellcat Hemi.
Originally started as a group of south California car enthusiasts getting together to hang out, their first meet in 2004 consisted of only four vehicles. The next meet in 2005 quickly grew to approach 100 vehicles. Starting in 2006, it surpassed 300 vehicles with participants from all over the US and Canada. This event has grown every year since and continues to grow!
Last year’s turnout was the biggest on record with around 1,000 cars registered and this year’s broke that record with just over 1,200 cars registered. Where most events show signs of slowing after numerous years, Spring Fest continues to grow. As a community and enthusiast event, Spring Fest has the tremendous support of FCA (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Mopar, Fiat, Ram and SRT).
The event had many executives and designers in attendance from both the local Irvine office as well as Auburn Hills such as Mark Trostle, Head of Design for SRT, Mopar and Motorsports FCA; Andy Love, Head of Car Product Marketing – Chrysler Brand; and Jeff Gale, Senior Design Manager – who designed many SRT products and most of the LX platform vehicles, to name a few.
Ralph Gilles, Global President of Product Design – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is usually a big name at the event but unfortunately, had previous obligations that led him to being unable to attend; the second year in a row. While he was missed, the rest of the team from Dodge, Chrysler and SRT did a stellar job at signing stuff and chatting with everyone about their cars and what they would like to see in the future with the next generation of products.
Like last year, the organizers set up a $10 entry fee for all participants. All proceeds for the entry fees went directly to help funding of programs at Ocean View High School. With 1,233 participants registered this year, the total amount raised for charity was over $12,000!
The kick-off event took place on Thursday night at Fuddruckers Burgers in Lake Forest with a hundred or so vehicles in the parking lot to hang out, chat and enjoy great food. The next day, the party moved to the host hotel, the Double Tree at Irvine Spectrum. Last year, the parking lot at the Double Tree was packed in every corner with beautiful Mopar products from early in the morning until midnight or so; however this year, the numbers were down.
Like every past year the event has been held, the show itself takes place on the Saturday. For this year’s event, the venue changed. Last year, the show was held at the nearby Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine. 2015 was the second year of the event being at the Verizon location. Before that, the show took place at the El Toro Air Force Base just around the corner.
For unknown reasons, this year’s event was moved to Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Once everyone cruised in and parked, you received a commemorative T-shirt and an entry into a contest to win $45,000 towards any new Mopar vehicle. We still haven’t won that contest.
Lunch was included free with your event registration with catering being done by the Angel Stadium food staff. More than a dozen other vendors including AFE, TruFiber, R1 Concepts Inc, Edelbrock and Magnaflow were also on-site offering event sales and product demos.
As usual for big Mopar events, Dodge did their closed course “thrill ride” event that had showgoers riding shotgun in either their choice of a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat or a Dodge Viper GT. Driven by SRT personnel, the participants riding along got to experience the full power of the vehicles unleashed with a short side-by-side drag race pinning Hellcat Challenger versus Hellcat Challenger and Viper versus Viper.
Once both sets of cars got to the end of the track, they would then do a high speed slalom course back to the starting line. The thrill ride event was hard to miss with a giant Dodge and SRT stickered semi-truck and trailer parked beside the track; along with a Ram full of brand new tires to roast off! As the event drew to a close, many left with thoughts and excitement for next year’s event in mind already. Hope to see everyone at the 12th Annual Spring Festival of LX’s in 2017!