Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, the small town of Helen, GA, is a replica of a Bavarian alpine village and the perfect backdrop for the fifth annual Southern Wrthersee Event. The town, home to only 450 residents, came alive as the thousands of Volkswagen enthusiasts dropped in and spent the weekend competing, talking shop, and socializing at the biggest Southern Wrthersee yet. If you were lucky enough to get into Helen on Friday night, you were treated live bands and DJs spinning at local hotspot, Bigg Daddys, right in the heart of town.
This years awards included the Peoples Choice prizes of authentic Bier Steins presented by Bynum Builds for the Longest Distance Driven, Outstanding Club Spirit, and H2O Tunings Club Choice. WagenWerks presented their Trophy for Best Motorsport Theme, and Taste O the South awarded the Farthest Distance Traveled.
Much to the surprise of organizer Matthew Bounds, Volkswagen of America made their debut appearance this year. Id been waiting for this phone call for five years. Im so pleased Volkswagen came out to sponsor the show. One of the biggest highlights of SoWo was the How Low Can You Go contest, hosted by Bigg Daddys, to see whose V-Dub was dropped the lowest. Even a police cruiser went through the makeshift limbo party.
VWoA brought out its hottest lineup of show cars, including souped-up and pre-production cars for the enthusiasts to check out, like the 311horsepower Eco CC, the yet-to-be-released Jetta GLI, and the very popular matte black 375 hp R-GTI racer. All were big hits at the show, as was the HR-built Golf with its German flag-inspired paint job on the bodyand even on the brake calipers. But none of the cars got more attention than the all-new all-wheel drive turbo-charged 2012 VW Golf R. Yes, its the only one currently in the states.
Its a long road to Southern Wrthersee, and painters tape has long been a tool used by the most avid weekend warriors to protect the front bumpers of their cars from getting nicked and scratched up from pebbles and other debris on their journeys. This tradition has slowly evolved into a culture of road messaging and creative expression while caravanning to various events across the country. So VWoA created a game for the crowd to show off their talents with a challenge called Tape Off, where three teams go head-to-head to see who can create the best design on mounted 2011 Jetta hoods. Each winning team was presented a special painters tape trophy, and all contestants got to keep their Tape Crew mechanics shirt. New York-based artist Walker Fee came out to do a custom tape job on a 2011 Jetta. He was on the job for almost eight hours before he had to leave to catch his flight back to the Big Apple, and it didnt seem as if he cared if he missed his flight. Ive never had the chance to try tape art on a car, and its definitely the biggest canvas Ive ever used, he said. I came in with some preconceived ideas of what I wanted to do when I got here, but when I finally got on the site, all of that went out the window and I was just feeding off the crowd.
The show ended Sunday with whats become a tradition at SoWo, The Drivers Edition Alpine Experience. This 40-mile drive near the Tail of the Dragon, with its twists and turns in the mountains just outside of Helen, is one of the most unique aspects of the show, giving enthusiasts a chance to come together on one of the most picturesque drives in the states.
Much like SoWo, its an experience youre not likely to forget!