Birthplace of BMW Z3 and Z4 set as destination
California may have swimming pools, movie stars, the Beverly Hillbillies, and fish tacos, but Upstate South Carolina has thousands of miles of some of the greatest curves and scenery in the world — asphalt, mountains, and the two-legged kind. And one of the most exciting BMW car cultures in the world will come alive this September when ZFest 2011 comes home.
The Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina is the land of Clemson University, Furman University, Wofford College, the University of South Carolina — and BMW Manufacturing, where BMW's Z3 and Z4 roadsters were born, along with their hard-top brothers and sisters. Yes, the latest generation of BMW's Z cars, the E89 Z4, is a foreigner, but all is forgiven when hundreds of Z-car owners from around the U.S. and Canada descend on Greenville for the largest gathering of BMW Z owners in North America.
"Traditionally, the Z-car crowd has come together over the Labor Day weekend," says ZFest 2011 coordinator David Weeks. "Plans call for event registration on Thursday, Sept. 1, followed by a manager's welcome reception in the atrium of the Embassy Suites Hotel. This will give the early arrivals a chance to check in, catch up with old friends, and shake off the Dragon dust — or just the road dust from your days of travel to get to ZFest 2011. We have a wonderful weekend venue and menu planned — and some really cool curvy-drive surprises for your enjoyment."
On Friday and Saturday, the buckets and towels will be out early at the car wash; for those who love to detail and show off their favorite rides, a concours will be held on Saturday. Vendors will be manning their booths for product information, sales, and services. We have also invited several vendors such as Dinan, Leather Z, the Dent Doctor, and the Tire Rack, to name a few. We are also planning several clinics and seminars, including the popular seat-bushing clinic.
For those who just can't wait to enjoy one of the many scenic curvy cruises planned along the back roads of Upstate South Carolina, there are maps of recommended routes in your registration packet. You can visit exciting places like Caesar's Head State Park and the Pretty Place Chapel, located at Camp Greenville on the North Carolina state line, or cruise through the Dupont National Forest and Pisgah National Forest. You'll cross the Eastern Continental Divide several times on some of the drives.
BMW plant tours are being set up just for ZFest 2011. Then, to wrap up your day on Friday and Saturday, dinners are planned following the manager’s reception. On Friday, dinner is in the outdoor atrium, followed by an evening of dancing under the stars to one of the Upstate area’s best bands. Saturday's banquet will be in the hotel's grand ballroom, where we will hand out awards and recognitions — and have a few other surprises.
Of course, no ZFest would be complete without the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Carolina silent auction; some of the biggest names in the auto world have started pledging items and gift certificates for this event. Last year we raised over $16,000 for this wonderful cause. and we hope to beat that number at this year's event.
Registration has opened and can be found at www.zfest.com. All Z1, Z3, Z4, and Z8 drivers are welcome. The host Embassy Suites Hotel is booking rooms at an M Power pace, so you should book your room now. The hotel will not charge your credit card until the event. You can go to the ZFest website for hotel, meal, and registration information.