Godfather of all Checker clubs Don McHenry started the Macungie tradition

For 55 years, Das Awkscht Fescht has been a summer tradition for all ages. Offering three fun-packed days in the great outdoors, it’s been a perfect way for families to celebrate summer and see some of the finest antique cars from the east coast.  Members of the ICTA have been participating in this event for a least 20 years!

The godfather of all Checker clubs Don McHenry first started attending Das Awkscht pulling his antique show car with his family Checker back in the 70’s.  Purchased new in 1961, by the 1980’s Don’s trailer pulling Superba wagon ultimately became a show car too!

The pristine Hutter A11

Over the years Don and his Checker buddy Bill Hossfield continued to promote Das Awkscht Fescht, by the 1990’s the event had become a popular meeting place among Checker owners/drivers.  Soon ICTA members Bruce & Marjorie Uhrich and Doug Klauck made Das Awkscht a regular annual event.

This writer first went to the Macungie event way back in 1999.  A memorable show, it rained all weekend long.  Despite the rain, Checker fans including Michael Angelich all piled into Bruce’s Aerobus and spent the weekend talking Checkers!  That memorable weekend truly demonstrated the Checker owners are never alone, we stick together no matter how much it pours and trust me its poured a lot over the last couple of years.

The 1950 Model A4 Taxicab

Through the years more Checker fans have joined the Checker fun in Pennsylvania.  Members Christian Hutter, Michael Pincus, Victor Coiro and Bert Beebe have now made the Sunday show a significant Checker event.  Over that last three years, these ICTA members have had a big impact and each year this event had increased in Checker participation.

This past weekend ICTA members celebrated the 55th annual Das Awkscht Fescht event, five Checkers made it to the event, a pretty good showing for a regional event, four cars from the ICTA and one from the CCCofA. Unfortunately for various reasons many of the regulars did not make it to Macungie this year.

On Saturday ICTA members Christian Hutter and his son Gavin entered the field with their pristine 1978 A11. The only Checker on display on Saturday, many of our blog readers may remember that Chris celebrated a big win with AACA  judged Checker at the May ACAA event near Pittsburgh.

The Rogers 1981 Checker A11

On Sunday Christian arrived first as always around 7:30 before the gates opened. This writer was also on hand with my 1950 Checker Model A4. For me personally it was very exciting to display at Macungie for the first time. Both cars entered the field together at about 8:05.

Thirty minutes later we were joined by ICTA members Marjorie and Bruce Uhrich who made the drive from Philadelphia in their stunning 1956 Checker Model A8 Standard. The best part of their arrival was directing the old 1956 Model A8 Standard in green and yellow livery next to the 1950 Model A4 in like green and yellow livery! Of course Bruce placed the vintage taxi stand sign between both cars.

Shortly after the Uhrich’s arrival Jim Rogers & Nicole Rogers arrived with their family in their classic NYC A11.  Best described as war torn, the Rogers A11 is always a crowd pleaser. In tow were the Roger’s two boys, it’s great to see youngsters attending Checker events. The future of the Checker hobby needs to be passed on to a new generation.

The sole CCCofA car

The last arrival was Tony Mattern, the only CCCofA member at the all-day affair, as usual the Checkers looked great. Tony’s Checker was the only Checker Marathon on display, all other Checker’s on display represented were painted in taxi livery. I think it was the first time that at a Checker meet the majority were purpose built taxicabs as opposed to Marathons. I guess it should be expected given the majority of participants were (internet Checker Taxicab Archive) members.

As usual the Checkers created quite a stir, one man was brought to tears, at the sight of the A4. According to man it brought back many great memories of New York. As always,  touching and climbing the cabs in was encourage. One couple actually wanted to sit in the back of the Checkers so they could neck!

Christian Hutter set up a large tent that allowed for some much need shade. The Roger’s had a cooler full of refreshing beverages and Bruce Uhrich entertained all with his historical photograph collections neatly presented in numerous binders.

Christian Hutter and Don McHenry June 2018!

Speaking of Don McHenry, the man who coined the phrase “A Checker Owner is Never Alone”, he’s doing well.  He did not make it to Macungie, but he is still attending shows.  This past June, Christian Hutter had the opportunity to see Don at an AACA event.  He was actually showing a car at the age of 94!

To watch the fun a Youtube video has been created, take a look below and see each car on full display.

Bruce, trying to squeeze into the Model A4

Checker Loverbirds!



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