The Early Years (2002-2004)

​The E30 Picnic did start as a simple picnic, in 2002, at Newcastle Beach in Bellevue, WA.  To make lunch simple, we said bring 5 bucks and we’ll order up 6-foot Subway sandwiches.  We thought we might see 2 dozen E30s show up the first year but in reality saw 54 E30s attend and around 110 people.  Year 2 saw 91 E30s attend plus one BMW M1 which was allowed to park in the corner.  The M1 was Dean Schindells whose E30 M3 was in pieces at the time, going through an extensive renovation.  Year 3 saw 112 E30s show up and  we were feeding 250 people with 6-foot Subway sandwiches.  With only 90-something parking spots allotted to the Picnic by the Parks Department, we had overrun the facility’s capacity and went on the hunt for a bigger location.  At the time, we weren’t organized enough to remember who traveled the farthest during the Newcastle Beach E30 Picnic era.

Getting Established (2005-2009)

With the E30 Picnic in need of more space, we hooked up with the Triple-X Drive-In in Issaquah who held weekly car shows.  The E30 Picnic continued to grow with 2005 seeing 105; 165 in 2006, 169 in 2007; 180 in 2008; and 243 in 2009!  The 243 was a best-guesstimate as we had no exact way to count E30s at the Triple-X, but there were a lot.

Highlights of this era included one year where we invited some Mercedes 190 16-valves to attend.  These were the Mercedes Homologation equivalent to the E30 M3.  We also had the Issaquah Fire Department out with their ladder truck, which helped Curtis Creager get a great aerial photo of the show which we commemorated in a poster.  We also saw more and more people making long drives from outside the Pacific Northwest.

Eventually the influx of other enthusiasts coming to see the E30 Picnic led to the Triple-X being overrun with cars.  The Issaquah Police were called, and it was time to find another new home for the E30 Picnic.

Present (2010-Now)

​In 2010 the E30 Picnic landed at the LeMay Marymount Museum.  Not to be confused with the new LeMay Museum in Tacoma, LeMay Marymount was the original museum location for the large LeMay collection of cars.  Blessed with gorgeously groomed irrigated grass fields, LeMay Marymount was a perfect location suitable to the E30 Picnic.  The cozy green lawn circled by walls of evergreen trees is the home to the brick buildings from the old monastery.  Located on the south side of Tacoma in Spanaway, it’s a bit closer for the large caravans of E30s now routinely traveling from Oregon and California.  Despite its rise in popularity, the E30 Picnic still tries to be a private party at heart rather than a public car show.

During a strange and hectic 2020, given the world was going through a pandemic, the state of Washington was shut down due to COVID-19 so the Picnic had to take a hiatus. During this time, we evaluated the next steps for the event, and event organization was handed over to the E30 Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America.  Everyone in the E30 community knows and loves this event, and who better to run it than the E30 Chapter!  With official support from BMW, the longevity of the event has been secured for many years to come.