Waterfest draws some 20,000 people each year and is widely considered the biggest VW show over here in the States. Anyone that has attended Waterfest knows just how crazy it gets with that many people in town to party. Last year Wörthersee had 150,000 people attend the show. 150,000 people drive from all parts of Europe and invade the small Austrian mountain town of Reinfitz on Lake Wörthersee.
The Wörthersee Treffen itself isn’t the typical “car show” we see here in the U.S. The closest description I can think of is something like Sturgis or Daytona bike week where you see hundreds of motorcycles lined up and down the street – except that it is nothing but VW products as far as you can see. People drive in from points all over Europe, cruise through the town of Reifnitz and if they find an empty parking spot (and I use that term loosely) they park their car on display, pull out a chair, a couple dozen beers and watch the parade of cars go by all day and all night. Cars are literally parked anywhere there is enough space – on the grass, on sidewalks, in empty fields – you name it. As you can imagine, trying to just drive through town can take an eternity. Walking through town is almost as difficult, with lines of people often stopping and moving and stopping again just trying to move the equivalent of one city block. This is Europe of course, so public drinking is completely accepted and the crowds generally handle it like an everyday activity.
This past week the first diehards start to arrive and find themselves parking at impromptu gatherings with other cars in places like the now famous Shell station and other random locations scattered around the lake. We have solicited the talents of UK photographer Si Gray to capture some of the sites in Wörthersee this past week and as you can see, he took some stunning images. Look for more of Si’s work around here in the future as we ramp up our European coverage. Meanwhile enjoy this first set of photos as we’ll have more next week when we attend the show ourselves.
Si Gray’s facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/SiGrayPhotography and he always appreciates a few extra “likes”. We think he deserves it. It is a rough job but someone has to do it.
Click on the thumbs below for larger images…