The Civic Theatre is hosting a Vernon Street tailgate party on July 30 for their one-night screening of The Bus, a documentary about VW vans.
“We’re going to pop up our roofs and park there. We’ll have kids running around, people cooking chili and it’d be nice to get 20, 30 vans out. We want to sell out the show,” said local VW bus enthusiast Keinan Chapman.
Organizers are hoping the audience will start to arrive around 5:30 p.m., two hours before the film begins, to have a communal cookout. They’ve asked for permission to use the parking lot at the old Extra Food building and plan to line up the vans in front of the theatre.
“You don’t need to RSVP,” said Chapman. “Just show up.”
Chapman campaigned to have the film brought to the Civic, a plan that was enthusiastically backed by fellow VW bus owner and theatre manager Jason Asbell.
“It’s a movie about the quirky people and the funny stories and the experience of owning a VW camper van,” said Chapman. “It’s a nice little film.”
The Bus tracks the VW van’s journey from its unlikely genesis as a post-Second World War utility vehicle all the way through to its current status as a cultural icon representing freedom and the open road.
The film, directed by Damon Ristau, begins in Germany with the vehicle’s creation, then follows the bus’ evolution through the years. Scenes are shot everywhere from Baja to Burning Man.
Chapman bought his van over a decade ago, and has done extensive upgrades and maintenance. He said he’s never been happier.
“It’s like a swiss army knife inside. You can store an enormous amount of stuff in it. It’s fuel efficient, fun to drive,” he said.
But the real benefit comes from being a member of a growing community of VW owners.
“Wherever you drive, other Westie drivers wave. There’s a camaraderie there. If you break down, they’ll stop for you. You do the same.”
Chapman said Nelson has an abundance of vans tucked away and hidden, and for this one night he’d like to see them all together downtown.
For more information visit civictheatre.ca.
(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Chapman’s first name.)