Ever wonder what to do in November to enjoy your Porsche.
How about a drive to Eureka Springs, Arkansas? Sounds like a really bad punch line headed your way, but never fear, its real.
Every year for the last 11 years an event has been happening in Eureka Springs. PCA Palooza, is a must see event for every Midwest Porsche enthusiast. What makes this event so special is the enthusiasm of its leading pair, Leonard and Melody Zechiedrich. They, along with a team of cooperative members from PCA’s White River, Ozark, and Cimarron Regions host a relaxed, casual weekend with a fun group of Porsche people driving the spectacular Ozark mountain roads.
My friends and I talk about, and eagerly anticipate, Palooza for several months at our weekly Saturday Porsche breakfasts. How many will attend? Will the weather once again be fantastic? What Porsches will we catch a glimpse of this year? The anticipation of this year and the many great stories of years past are indicative of what Palooza has become. The last Porsche hurrah for the year. The trip to Palooza from Kansas City is short enough for a quick morning run and long enough to really enjoy the ride.
To say that there was a true variety of Stuttgart’s finest is an understatement. The glorious simplicity of the 356s, the timeless lines of air cooled 911s, the rumble of eight cylinder 928s, the turbo spool in 951s and the modern sophistication in today’s Cayenne, Macan, and a stunning 918, all in attendance.
This year Palooza events started on Thursday morning.
First up, an extended Ozarks Wine Country Tour followed by activities throughout the day. There is a silent auction with photos and art by Kelly Shipp Photography. Most of Thursday is spent checking out the vendors and the numerous Porsches as they arrive, cruise around and lineup, followed by a bit of posturing and engine revving. It’s always fun to see new cars, old friends and make new Palooza friendships along the way. The first day of events led to an evening social mixer, meal, and music with a live band.
Friday began with three all-day driving tours.
First up, there was the enjoyment of a 210 mile Ozark wine country, plus two other opportunities to experience a combination of NW Arkansas roads plus shopping and dining hospitality. More friends to greet, cars rolling in from every direction and the chance to eye the Porsche of your youth, and your dreams.
Friday evening’s activity included the “Palooza Fest” welcome party, a tech quiz, “Name that Porsche Item” trivia, and the very popular “Bingo” with Porsche prizes. It was all a lot of fun. But, at some point though you realize you need sleep, there are drives the next morning.
Saturday morning was all about options.
- War Eagle. This drive leaves early and follow some of the tightest twisty roads you can image. Its half way point ends at War Eagle Grist Mill for breakfast and tall tales of how you squeaked through the last set of corners. The second half of the drive was more about long sweepers, eventually taking you through Withrow Springs State Park before heading back to Eureka.
- The popular Roaring River drive over the Little Golden Gate Bridge in Beaver, AR. Then wind through the Mark Twain National Forest and Roaring River State Park in Missouri. Eventually you will head across the White River back into Arkansas.
- Rooster Run heads South through the Ozark hills arriving at The Country Rooster Antiques and Cafe in Green Forest, AR. You’ll then head north to Missouri and enjoy Table Rock Lake before heading back to Eureka.
- The beautiful Crystal Bridges drive. This one takes you along highways 62 and 72, as it leads to Bentonville, AR. Here you enjoy the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Galleries, restaurant, nature trails and the museum store all contribute to this drives popularity.
- The Beaver Dam drive. This one is casual, short and scenic. It crosses the Little Golden Gate Bridge in Beaver, AR and the Beaver Dam on Beaver Lake for great photo opportunities.
Lunch time on Saturday was open.
Many folks took this opportunity to tour the town, while others polished and prepped their cars for the parade through main street.
Those that did a little extra polishing and not do the parade had their eyes on a larger prize, the “People’s Choice” awards. This is a shine and show where cars are stationed in categories and everyone votes for a best car in its class. Voting is subjective to your taste for originality verses modified, verses daily driver, verses “what were they thinking?”
As the voting winded down the evening’s list of activities were just getting started. Saturday night was the banquet with dinner, awards, and the Palooza raffle.
Sunday morning normally starts with an autocross.
This year the autocross was dropped altogether, instead it was time for Porschephiles to say their goodbyes, with plans to see each other over the next year.
Overall there were over 400 people, 260 Porsches presented, from 13 states, representing 27 PCA regions. Sounds like a pretty good gathering, right. Eureka Springs has well maintained, and very smooth roads, so next year, early in November, take a drive to Eureka Springs for the weekend.
– AGELON JONES & FRED QUINTANA