Ertefa was a great thing because it was a true grassroots movement. Car nuts gathering together to talk about cars, swap parts, ogle over others rides and most of all enjoy the great weather. Here at AMF we have been a part of Ertefa for a very long time and we watched them grow from a small show at Bayview Village into the massive 1000+ car meet they were a month ago. Trouble is, the fame got to their head and what we have in front of us is the epic rise and fall of one of the best auto enthusiast meet the GTA has ever seen.
The formula was simple; everyone gathers in a parking lot, leave the stupid boy racer attitude at home and have a great time. In the beginning the Ertefa organizers made sure people acted properly by posting volunteers at the entrances, taking down plate numbers and having a rapport with people as they entered. Every time I went I was welcomed to the event and asked to be courteous and smart. It’s the small details that lead to their success, people felt a bond. Ertefa was for them run by people like them. It was a great snapshot into what a true auto enthusiast is, we are multicultural, we are all good people and most of all we love standing in a parking lot!
AMF partnered with Ertefa in late April to be their official media coverage. The marriage was one made in heaven. We needed content and they needed exposure. People who came to the meet loved the fact that the team of AMF photographers would snap pictures of their car and they could get it for free. For a time in July I remember cruising the classified ads on Kijiji and almost every modified car for sale had an AMF picture posted in the ad! In mid May the meet was getting large, to the point we were getting 500-600 cars. We at AMF decided that with that many cars we need to reward the people who bring out the truly cream of the crop cars. With the assistance of Ertefa we started walking the field and choosing a car to be the “Best of Show” and each week we tried to pick something different. It was a hard task too because there were so many great cars. We met a ton of great enthusiasts this way too and today I am friends with them simply due to the fact we met at the meet.
By late June we were getting close to a 1000 cars and that’s when I noticed changes starting to happen. More people wanted to jump on the band wagon and support Ertefa, and for good cause. If you have over 1000 people of your target market in one place would you want to advertise there? The Ertefa organizers were swamped with requests and people were getting mad at them for saying “no”. Instead of rising to the challenge the Ertefa organizers clammed up and for two weeks we were asked not to take up our usual space or give out a prize pack. That is when I really knew something was up, they were trying to organize the event, but I couldn’t figure out if it was for the better or for the worse. The weeks to come showed that it was for the worst.
The people enforcing the rules at the entrances dwindled as they were now at the table and flags they set up to sell their stickers, t-shirts and going so far to charge $3 for a can of pop and $2 for water. Also around this time they trademarked their name and when I saw that I knew what was really going on. I don’t blame people for trying to make money, but what people don’t understand is that it takes a lot of hard work to make a cent in the automotive world. There is nobody at any company that is going to run after you with a cheque in hand yelling “take my money!”
As the enforcement laxed the trouble began to happen. There were street races outside the event, there was fights in the parking lot, people littered and I know a few people who had holes in their tires from driving over broken glass. What happened to Ertefa is a classic house party scenario. Someone has a few people over and those people invite their friends. Next thing you know the house is packed and everyone in having a great time. The house owner is running around making sure nobody causes a problem and the party remains civil. Enter the hot girl who is impressed with the homeowner for having such a great party. They go upstairs to have some fun and while he’s gone the trouble breaks out.
What we have now is a car meet without a meeting place. The Ertefa guys have expressed that they are tired of trying and they have other things to focus on, so the chance of getting a meet back together is slim to none. It’s sad really because everyone was super excited for such a great thing and hopefully it will come back.
Until then though AMF is going to do whatever it can to help bring back the enthusiast meet. I wish we had an easy answer, but we don’t. If you want to get involved contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org We are hoping to have something planned for next week as there are only a few weeks left of the great weather and season!
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Words: Patrick Logan
Photo: Giancarlo Pawelec