Windy City Stories: The Festival

Words: Mark Aquino
Images: Mark Enriquez | JD Lazaro | Mark Aquino


I could hear a faint sound emitting from a device close by. My mind, still in a state of unconsciousness fighting the urge to return to reality. I wake up to the sound of the alarm boistering from Mark’s phone. I was told that this was the fifth time he snoozed it. JD and Mark got ready while I laid comfortably in bed trying to squeeze out every second of sleep I can get.

When everyone was dressed up and ready, we went to the dining hall for a quick bite. I went straight to the section with bread and grabbed a golden brown croissant and two containers of Nutella. I carefully split the croissant and spread the chocolate goodness of Nutella unevenly. I hurriedly munched on my breakfast as I sipped through my cup of coffee. JD brought a whole plate of egg omelette with him back to the car. We made our way to the Aloft Hotel to rendezvous with Royal Republic – long time good friends with very meticulously maintained cars hailing from North Carolina. We were also greeted by Ming from Fizz Autosports, a Chicago based automotive shop specializing in custom work. A familiar face, Mark Yuen was present as well as he piloted his award winning custom Lexus. It was a busy morning so after the introductions, we had to set sail to the convention center for roll-in. I was tasked to pilot Cindy’s gorgeous C63 AMG. Some say that the car is a reflection of the owner – her machine is elegant and mysteriously powerful. I felt the power wanting to unleash as I gripped the steering wheel. The fleet also consisted of Steve Nguyen’s VIP cars – the Cima and Aristo, Jessie Edmund’s GT-VIP Aristo and Patrick’s VIP themed Matrix among the cars.


Wekfest is one of the nation’s premiere automotive car festival. It draws thousands of car enthusiasts and builders alike. Unlike other shows, the organizers carefully pick and approve cars that apply. Receiving that acceptance email is already a win by itself. The organizers originate from the West Coast and tour the nation including Japan to present an automotive gathering that is enjoyed by everyone. The show holds a lot of integrity under its belt, the show judges are those that have been in the industry for many years and have exceptional knowledge in their areas of specialty. Wekfest returned to Chicago after 6 years, this is one festival for the books.

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We took this opportunity to capture not just the machines in the building but also the living beings that walk the aisle. Car enthusiasts come from different walks of life and we captured the “life” in that building, otherwise it would have just been filled with lifeless machines. We started #humansofcarshows on Instagram to project the unique world of car enthusiasts.

And what good is a car show without the cars. Car builders as far as Canada flocked to attend this event. It almost drew people from every state. It goes to show that distance doesn’t matter when passion is involved.

Best of Show was taken by Nawshin from Liberty VIP with his Evo. Well deserved!


Our friends from Royal Republic took home some awards including best crew and were part of the winners’ circle.

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We’ve always enjoyed going to Wekfest. We’ve attended every show they’ve held in NJ. We were thankful to see the automotive scene that Chicago offered. As the curtain closed, the event finally drew to a close. We met up with our friends for a farewell dinner but more on that in our final post.

Stay tuned!


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