SoWo Takes Over Helen, GA

Drew with VW

In the blink of an eye, Southern Worthersee came and went. Last weekend, the Volkswagen-centric event took over the small town of Helen, GA. The sixth annual gathering was by far the biggest yet, with 3,800 cars and 8,200 people in attendance.

“SoWo” is patterned after the Wörthersee Tour in Reifnitz, Austria, the largest annual gathering of Volkswagen enthusiasts for over twenty years. Organizers chose Helen, GA, to host this sister event in North America because they feel the small town offers a truly authentic European atmosphere with striking similarities to the actual Wörthersee region in Austria.

On Friday, enthusiasts from all over the nation began to arrive in a wide range of VWs, from early-model Buses and Jetta GLIs to tuned 2012 Golf Rs and Touaregs. That evening, Forge’s Low Down Show Down and Sound Off Contest at Big Daddy’s was the place to be. Owners showed off their lowered suspensions and sport exhausts to a huge crowd, an audio and visual spectacle that set the bar for an action-packed weekend.

Back at the main event on Saturday, VW brought the latest vehicles wrapped in Volkswagen Accessories with giveaways galore. “VW Director” was a unique new offering Volkswagen will have at several enthusiast events in 2012. Several owners showing their VWs were able to bring their vehicles into a mobile photo studio to be professionally shot and enhanced with Photoshop onsite.

In addition to the Volkswagen activities and show cars, several aftermarket vendors were in attendance showcasing their latest products, including APR, Forge, Unitronics and Airlift, to name a few. Most of the activities were free of charge, with the $2,500 in proceeds going to The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

The last big activity was the Mountain Cruise. Hundreds of Volkswagens took to nearby, less-traveled, curvy mountain roads for a casual – depending on your definition of the term – Sunday cruise. Several photographers gathered on the roadsides to capture the action.

For most attendees, the best memories were the new friendships created. People were excited to meet others with common interests and share their Volkswagen adventures with one another.

How likely are you to walk up to a stranger to tell them you like their car? (And by car, we mean Volkswagen.)

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