SyncroFest 2018

SyncroFest 2018

Our intrepid in house Syncro-Vanagon Guy, Mike Herbert has been beating himself up over the past few years for not attending the largest Syncro/Vanagon event in the nation, SyncroFest. Well we finally let him out of his cage early this year and he along with Shin Watanabe, editor of Hot VWS magazine headed north to the awesome Vehicle Park in legendary Hollister, California.

Attendance is limited to 250 vehicles for good reason. It is a true family event with something for everyone and an emphasis on ensuring a safe family type atmosphere; something that can get a little dicey with unlimited attendance.  It should be noted that Seth Hatfield and his crew organize SyncroFest to provide enthusiasts with a fun and exciting get together and not for profit.

Given the number of vehicles allowed will remain the same for the foreseeable future, if you have any intension on getting in on this one you need to check the dates for next year, find out when tickets go on sale and jump on it. This year all event passes were sold in just 10 days!

While some events at SYNCROFEST are organized by sponsors many others are simply impromptu games, and the like put together by individuals and clubs to make the weekend as fun for the kids as it is for adults. So, if you manage to score tickets and have an idea for a family friendly activity by all means bring it on.


There will be occasional changes to what the park and organizers allow, but these from 2018 will give you reliable guidelines.

Our event is a little off the beaten path in a nice group campground. Firewood will be provided to everyone thanks to our sponsors. Campfires are allowed ONLY in the designated fire pits (there are a little over a dozen of these). There is fresh water on site and a couple showers and bathrooms. There is no stores, food concession, electricity or cell phone reception in the campground. The town of Hollister is just a few miles down the road and has major grocery stores, restaurants etc. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for all your meals except for the pot luck dinner on Saturday. We will also be having a pancake breakfast on Saturday AM. SyncroFest covers the food costs and the meal is cooked by volunteers. 100% of what we collect goes to charity.


We do not allow non-Syncrofest-appropriate vehicles in the campground. If you came in a Toyota or something other than a VW Camper, Syncro badged vehicle, European 4×4 etc. then it belongs in the oddball campground by the entrance gate. If your staying with your spouse/friend etc please park your oddball vehicle in the parking area on the left after you pass through the gate. You will notice that there will be a couple vehicles in the main event area that are not supposed to be there. We have made some special exceptions for certain people (like organizers and sponsors).


Syncrofest has grown to the point where we have more people that want to attend than we can handle. Because of this we have to make some changes to the check in process. This year we will have check in at the entry. The gates will only be open from 8am until 10pm. Please plan on arriving during those times. We (the organizers) will be checking in on Wednesday afternoon. We will not be letting anyone in until after we go through the facility with the park personnel. If you get there before us please DO NOT PARK IN FRONT OF THE GATE. Please note that the very act of arriving on Wednesday is signing up for any volunteer position we need at the time. We will lock the gates at 9:00pm on Wednesday night.


Two meals are available. On Saturday morning a pancake breakfast is served. This is a fundraiser for charity. SyncroFest covers the food costs and the food is cooked by volunteers. 100% of what we collect goes to a charity chosen by the cooks (last year it was The Young and the Brave Foundation). The Saturday night dinner is a huge group effort. We provide chicken and beef, and garlic bread, green salad and corn on the cob. This is a potluck dinner so please bring a side dish like a salad, vegetables, dessert etc to share. Serving a sit down meal for such a large group is a huge undertaking and it only works if everyone contributes. Please also bring your own cups, plates and utensils to dinner. We will help you out if you forget but we’re trying to keep the waste to a minimum.


ALL DOGS must be kept on leash at ALL times, and any waste MUST be picked up. These are the park rules. We have many dogs coming to Syncrofest. If one person lets their dog run loose then everyone thinks this is acceptable and it just does not work out.


Everyone is encouraged to compete for the Syncro Cup. Don’t be shy. It’s lots of fun. This year we’ll have special gift to every cup competitor. If you want to drive in the cup but don’t have a van available come and talk to us. We can help! The driver’s meeting is Saturday morning. Please note that the challenge has three components to it. The driving event, the knowledge test and the parts ID test. You will need to complete all three portions to be in contention for the cup.


Be prepared for long hours in the sun. Please be aware that the park is FULL of poison oak. Make sure you know what it looks like before you go stumbling around in the bushes. Chances are its poison oak. The park is inhabited by feral hogs that are very adept at opening coolers. If possible try to keep your food inside your van.


Before heading into the off road park please make sure that you have a park pass taped inside your windshield. You can get these at registration. Please be aware the conditions that you can encounter in the off road park at Syncrofest can be very challenging. Over the years we have had several vans tip over while in the 4×4 park. The most important thing that you can do to reduce the risk of injury is to make sure that everything in your van is properly secured. Anything loose in the van can hit you during an off road drive. Look through your van and secure or remove anything that you would not like to get hit in the head with. You should do this EVEN if you only plan on a very leisurely drive. All occupants should be seat belted at all times. Finally having the proper tire pressure for the conditions is important. Tire pressure can make the difference between sliding into a ditch or other loss of control.



Every adult will receive 5 raffle tickets with their entry. Each individual ticket is a chance to win. You must write your name on the ticket. We’re not keeping the other ticket with a matching number (simply that is another ticket). If you like you can purchase additional tickets for $1.00 each. When we draw the tickets we will call your name. You must be present to win. We are not shipping any items to anyone.


SyncroFest is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, or religion (or lack thereof). We do not tolerate harassment of attendees in any form nor do we tolerate any lewd, illegal, or obnoxiously drunken behavior. Attendees violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled without a refund at the discretion of the organizers.

In other words, DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE!



5:00 PM – Gates Open


1:00 PM – Caravan to top of park (easy route)

Evening – Syncro Movies/Photos projected on main stage. Bring your pics and videos to Jim Davis to add to the show


9:00 AM – 20-mile road bike ride led by Syncrofest Velo

3:00 PM – Show us your best mod walk around led by Stephan’s Autohaus

6:00 PM – GoWesty tequila tasting and salsa contest *

7:00 PM – Syncro horseshoes hosted by Stephan’s Autohaust

8:00 PM – Name That Noise game – by Jim Howard at the main stage

Evening – Syncro Movies and photos at main stage.


8:30 AM – Charity Pancake Breakfast at barbecue area

9:30 AM – Morning dinner prep at barbecue area

9:30 AM – Deadline to sign up for the Syncro Cup Challenge

9:45 AM – Syncro Cup drivers meeting

4:00 PM – GoWesty piñata party for kids

4:00 PM – Deadline to turn in Parts ID and Super Cup Quiz answer sheets

4:30 PM – Dinner crew gathers at barbecue area

5:30 PM – Raffle closes

6:30 PM – Dinner is served

7:30 PM – Awards and raffle!

9:00 PM – Buslab beer tasting party


Camp Clean Up

Head home!

*GoWesty Salsa Contest: Bring your best homemade salsa! The competition is serious in all categories: Lo Mejor (Best Overall), Mejor Picante (Best Spicy), Mas Loca (Most Original).

Winners will be announced at Saturday’s awards ceremony – and will take home

$100 GoBucks gift certificates! Bring enough to share with a crowd. If your salsa runs out early, it can’t get as many votes!

GoWesty Tequila Tasting: Bring your favorite bottle of tequila to share. We’ll be  sipping, discussing, and generally acting much more mature than we really are.


SyncroFest is held at Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area. This park caters to both four and two wheeled off-road enthusiasts, it has ~24 miles of off-road trails of varying difficulty, along with some man-made obstacles. Camping is on-site, there are showers and flush toilets. There is little to no cellular service at camp, but a signal can be found at higher elevations from camp.

Address (approximate)

7800 Cienega Rd

Hollister CA