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Love for Bugs infectious at Killarney Lake gathering

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Ryan Smith, the organizer of the Dubs at the Lake, with his 1974 VW Safari High Top bus.

SUBMITTED PHOTO / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Ryan Smith, the organizer of the Dubs at the Lake, with his 1974 VW Safari High Top bus.

Killarney will be overrun with bugs today -- delighting in the first-ever meeting of Volkswagen enthusiasts in southwestern Manitoba.

Organizer Ryan Smith expects dozens of VW owners will come down to the Dubs at the Lake event, a meeting that will include a group dinner and a showing of the California documentary Circle the Wagon, which looks at the phenomenon of the VW subculture in North America.

The answer to why the German car brand has such a loyal, enthusiastic following remains elusive to Smith.

"You know what? I wish I could tell you," he said. "A lot of people say once you get into Volkswagens, you catch the bug."

Smith, too, caught the bug when he bought a 1974 Volkswagen Safari High Top bus, which he spent last winter restoring, work that included full-metal restoration, eight new body panels and a new coat of paint.

"Some of the guys say it is good from afar and far from good," he joked. "Through that process, I got thinking that it would be fantastic to get together with some like-minded guys and have a bit of a car show."

His hippie icon-on-wheels is parked beside his regular ride, a 2004 VW Passat sedan.

While organizing the inaugural event, he spoke with several VW drivers intending to drive to Killarney from as far away as Fargo, Regina and Dryden.

Participants in the free event are to meet at the Beach Hut across from Erin Park at 2 p.m. today. From there, drivers will take a cruise around town before dinner.

At dusk, participants will take off to the Shamrock Drive-In for the documentary showing as well as the original version of Disney's The Love Bug.

For more information, contact Smith at 204-523-2060.

gbruce@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2014 B4

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