Happy Anniversary At Mid America’s 25th Annual Corvette Funfest

While most married couples commemorate their 25th anniversary with gifts of silver, celebrants at this year’s massive Corvette Funfest were made of different materials: iron, aluminum and fiberglass—the basic ingredients of Corvettes.

How did such a hugely popular event get its start? Like any marriage, the origins were less extravagant but still meaningful. Back in 1993, Mid America Motorworks hosted a customer appreciation party in Effingham, Illinois.

Thousands and thousands of cool Corvettes and enthusiastic attendees join the fun every year at Mid America's Funfest. Images Ed Baumgarten ©Mid America Motorworks

“We were thrilled when some 300 Corvettes arrived that day,” notes Mike Yager, the company’s “Chief Cheerleader.” It was a day that he and wife Laurie will never forget. “We spent the day talking one-on-one with our customers, enjoying burgers and sharing the stories of our Corvette passions.”

Following the event, they received many thank you cards expressing what a “FUN” time they had and how it felt like a “FESTIVAL.” From these notes, the term “Funfest” was born.

A “Win-Win” Callaway Corvette

Looking to win a new Corvette and support a really worthy charity as well? Ronald McDonald House Central Valley has partnered with Callaway Cars to give you the chance to win a 2018 Callaway Corvette Z06. Not only is this Corvette a Callaway delivering 757 horses, it is also a limited edition “Carbon 65” anniversary car. General Motors only produced 650 of these special edition vehicles. Don’t expect this raffle to cost you at least $100 for a ticket, though. The suggested minimum donation is only $5 and the deals get better the more tickets you buy. Enter online before November 16, 2018 and the lucky winner will be notified November 30, 2018.

As for the charity, the mission of Ronald McDonald House is to provide a “Home Away From Home” for families while their child is being treated at Valley Children’s Hospital. This Ronald McDonald House chapter provides a “Home Away From Home” for 19 families each night. Your support will make all the difference to hundreds of families going through the traumatic experience of having a severely sick or injured child. Of course everyone wants to win a car, but when you give to a cause like the Ronald McDonald House, you can’t lose.

Today, Corvette Funfest has blossomed into the World’s Largest Corvette Party, with tens-of-thousands of Corvettes and Corvette enthusiasts coming to the spacious Mid America campus each September. From those early beginnings, Yager and his crew have become experts at throwing a party.

It's a non-stop festival of fun all four days. Images Steve Temple and Ed Baumgarten ©Mid America Motorworks

This year, the number of activities was bigger than ever, starting with some drag strip action at Coles County Dragway USA for cash awards, and cruises into downtown Effingham and surrounding areas. In addition, at Author’s Row attendees could meet some of the best Corvette authors in the country, while picking up a copy of their autographed books.

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Also, a number of informative seminars were held on a variety of Corvette-related subjects, along with an Expert Panel on Saturday morning featuring Corvette Hall of Fame members. The four-day day extravaganza culminated in a charity fundraiser at the Bartending Challenge and the Decades Rewind concert. All in all, the folks at Mid America sure know how to put the fun into Funfest!

Join Corvette Funfest next year on September 19-22, 2019 and stay tuned for details on the upcoming theme.

Plenty of parts were available for installs right in the show-field area.

In the Pink—for Breast Cancer Awareness

Tina Thompson fell in love with Corvettes back in high school, when she saw her first C3. After many years she purchased a ’77, then a ’79, and later a ’98. The latter one, painted pink like the C7 shown here, was featured right here at Corvette Online, and highlighted a special cause.

“Like my other pink Corvette,” Tina relates, “I put the breast cancer plates on her for my two aunts and my husband Tim’s cousin who are breast cancer survivors—for all women who have or had breast cancer.” She and Tim have taken both pink Corvettes to numerous breast cancer awareness shows and fundraisers.

The color scheme is more challenging than you might realize. After a 1,000-mile shakedown, the body of the car was taken off so that each piece could be painted correctly on all sides and edges. Also, the interior was removed and sent to LeatherSeats.com in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Tim began the process of prepping each piece for paint, which required six different paint sessions. Each one took about about 10 hours, applying three coats of PPG pale pink, then three coats of House of Kolor Red Ice pearl. Then four coats of PPG 2021 clear.

After the parts were painted, they were color sanded and buffed to a show finish before being installed back on the car.  Doing the work in their home garage at night and on weekends, it took them a year from start to finish. The whole process was about 300 hours of work. About 11 months into the project, a second trip to Oklahoma was made to pick up the interior and install it just as the body was being finished.

The car has spent the last 1 1/2 years doing shows on the ISCA show circuit and other events around the nation. This past summer after the show circuit had ended, they had Expel paint protection film applied to the entire exterior of the car so that Tina could now drive it and have fun.

“I thought I would only have one pink Corvette,” she admits. “Things changed when I saw my first white C7 and pictured it in pink.” More than just a special color scheme, though, Tina believes that the breast cancer cause is important to make all women and men aware, and as a reminder to get yearly checkups. “If my car just saves one person from this deadly disease by reminding them to get checked, then she has served her purpose.”

About the author

Steve Temple

Steve Temple has more than three decades of experience as an automotive photojournalist. He has served as editor of several automotive enthusiast magazines, and also as director of marketing for Shelby American. As such, he is intimately familiar with a wide range of vehicles, ranging from vintage street rods and classic musclecars to modern sports cars. Steve has handled tech and install features on all types of aftermarket upgrades for both cars and trucks.
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