Southern Wörthersee 2015 | The Final Chapter

“This show is supposed to be for VW/Audi and Porsche only!” typed the furious hipster on Facebook.

“You uninvited people ruined the show!” exclaimed another as the smoke cleared from the burnout he just did.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve read/heard statements like these over the last few days. I usually don’t write articles, but on this occasion I decided to take some time and share my thoughts on the event and the actions that led to the city council’s decision. I must warn you, I have strong opinions, so if you are easily offended, I’d suggest just looking at the photos.

Photos By: Jon Davis – Kent Foster




If you aren’t aware, Southern Wörthersee is supposed to mirror the original Wörthersee event held in Austria for Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche enthusiasts. The town of Helen, GA provides the perfect backdrop for the event with its Bavarian-themed style of architecture, surrounded by the tree covered Blue Ridge Mountains.



Every year I look forward to making the hour drive up to Helen from Atlanta to enjoy a one of a kind event that brings out some of the best examples of VW/Audi enthusiast vehicles. Popular import culture has taken a lot of inspiration from the VW/Audi style of modification. So as an automotive enthusiast, I feel right at home meandering through the show grounds viewing the vehicles that have had the heart and souls of their owners poured into them.




Since this event occupies an entire town, it presents a few challenges as far as parking and traffic is concerned. The businesses and roads remain open to the public during the event so that people that are in Helen for SoWo can move around as well as the townspeople and other visitors.




With Helen being such a small town, this influx of show attendees and spectators are bound to be mixed in together. This brings me to my point about the people I’ve seen whining about other makes being at SoWo. I hope they are not so daft as to think the organizers of SoWo buy the rights to the town for the weekend. This isn’t an arena or another controlled space where you can determine who comes and goes. The main show grounds are a different story, and other than booth vehicles, I did not see any non-VW/Audi/Porsche vehicles on the lawn, which is how it should be.





To those that think otherwise, you’re on par with the ones causing the trouble that ultimately led to the show’s demise. If this is a VW/Audi show, then you should be able to infer that 90% of the people at the event drive one or the other. Therefore the majority of the problems (burnouts, property damage, litter, fights, etc.) that occurred would have to be caused by those staying in town for the weekend. The amount of non-VW/Audi drivers that were there for multiple overnight stays (when most of the unwelcome behavior occurred) was small in comparison.


That being said, no one should try to claim the non-euro drivers had absolutely no part in the burnouts and other reckless driving, because the photos and videos show otherwise.




But they were not in the majority. That’s not vape smoke, by the way.




And there was no shortage of people to encourage them.



Hats off to Helen PD for being as lenient and accommodating as they were.


Unfortunately, as the old adage goes, “If you give a person an inch, they’ll take a mile.”





It’s unfortunate that a few bad apples have to ruin things for everyone else. Most people were there to have a good time, see old friends, and view some amazing builds. Helen provided such a great atmosphere for this show, and now the organizers and business owners have to either convince the city council to change their minds, or find a new venue.





For those of you that continue to try and deflect the blame in its entirety on the relatively small percentage of non-euro people in attendance, you are what’s wrong with today’s automotive culture. Having a make-specific show is fine. That’s what designated show grounds are for, which SoWo has. I wouldn’t want to attend a American muscle show and see imports on the show grounds. That part I get. But to tell another enthusiast they are not invited to spectate because they happen to drive a different make is frankly idiotic.




I guess those of you that feel that way aren’t true enthusiasts in the first place, so I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s just discouraging from the perspective of a group of people who want to unify the automotive community.



On the plus side that means the true enthusiasts won’t be seeing this small group of elitist whiners at any of the non-euro shows, since according to their logic, they’re not invited. I’m sure they don’t want to be hypocrites, right?


To everyone else that behaved themselves, were friendly, and want to see Southern Wörthersee continue, keep it up. You guys are the real MVPs.

As of now Southern Worthersee is banned from Helen as seen in the Helen City Council meeting, but we have a whole year to change their minds.  Keep up with it all on the Southern Wörthersee homepage.


See the whole gallery here

  • Jamie S.

    I just emailed the Helen City Commissioners a copy of this article along with my thoughts and suggestions, as well as a request to reconsider closing the event. Hope it helps!