‘Bug in the Bay’ to Feature Volkswagen Cars at Bigfork’s Rumble in the Bay Car Show

Last year’s event raised more than $2,500 for the local VFW post’s high school scholarships program

By Mike Kordenbrock
Rumble in the Bay car show in Bigfork. Courtesy photo

Thousands of people and hundreds of classic cars are expected swarm downtown Bigfork this weekend for the 14th annual Rumble in the Bay car show.

The theme for this year’s event is the Volkswagen, and so this year’s show is being called “Bug in the Bay.” Posters for the show Volkswagen’s iconic Beetle car set against a tie-dyed background.

“I think the biggest thing is, this is kind of the end of summer party in Bigfork. It takes place in Bigfork village with a very picturesque background, and to have all those cars lined up and to hear the engines rev up, it’s a fun day” said Rebekah King, the executive director for Bigfork’s chamber of commerce.

Historically the event was organized by the local VFW Post 4042, but this year will be the second year in a row the chamber of commerce has taken the event on in an effort to help compensate for a shortage of volunteers, according to King.

Despite that change, the event still goes to benefit the same VFW Post 4042’s local high school scholarship program, and King said last year they gave out more than $2,500 in scholarships. The average attendance for the event is over 2,000 people.

There is a 300-vehicle cap for show participants, and King said they expect to have over 200 cars participate this year. About seven years ago the event saw its highest car registration with around 350 vehicles. People can register to participate the day of the event for $40, but up until 6 p.m. on Sept. 2, registration can be done for $25. The price hike for same day registration is an attempt to encourage people to preregister and thus ease some of the strain on the limited number of volunteers for the event.

Despite the theme, participants do not have to have a Volkswagen Beetle. The Rumble kicks off Saturday, Sept. 3 with a poker run around Flathead Lake starting at 11 a.m. at the Buffalo Saloon, with registration kicking off at 10:30 a.m. The poker run is open to any and all vehicles whether they be classic, new, motorcycles, or something else. The poker run wraps up at 4 p.m. with a party at the Buffalo Saloon.

 “It’s a beautiful excuse to loop the lake,” King said.

Sunday, Sept. 4, registration goes from 8 a.m. to noon. The “Show & Shine” competition goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with awards given out starting at 3 p.m. The after party at the Tall Pine Lounge kicks off at 4 p.m. During the show there will also be a poker walk through Bigfork, and every hour participating cars will be encouraged to rev their engines.

The event takes place in downtown Bigfork and both Grand Avenue and Electric Avenue will be closed. There will be limited handicapped parking lot at the new parking lot on Grand, and all other parking will be at the Bigfork Schools parking area.