Vespa La Festa to celebrate 68 years of the Italian Two-Wheeler

 | Thu 18 Jun 2015 07:14 ICT


Interspersed along Kaeo Nawarat road just outside the old city and across the Ping River is a cluster of greasy mechanic’s shops that specialise in fine tuning and restoring one of Chiang Mai’s most beloved brand of motor vehicles: the iconic Vespa scooter.

On this afternoon, mechanics and riders are gearing up for an exciting weekend; a regional Vespa meet up celebrating 68 years of the little engines that could at the Vespa La Festa held in Chiang Mai at Kad Cherng Doi near Chiang Mai University on Saturday June 20th.

“This year is special because its held up here in the north,” says Ton, founder of the Taiwang Chiang Mai Vespa Gang and 1st place Thailand champion Vespa racer, “last year it was in Bangkok, so we’re excited to have it close by. We’re going to bring these two vintage scooters here,” explains Ton standing beside two exceptionally well-preserved vintage Vespa’s, both 1960s models, one in canary yellow, the other a charming baby blue.


Taiwang Chiang Mai Vespa Gang founder Ton (right) and racer Martin (left) 

“We just got back from an 800km race to Pattaya,” explains Taiwang Chiang Mai Vespa Gang racer Martin, “Ton’s the current standing champion, but I won this time!” Martin pulls out his racing Vespa, another 60s model. “It’s had a lot of work done, but it still has the original paint job,” he says pointing out the chipped and weathered patina of the silver road warrior. “This one has 28 horse power, that’s about six times the power of a stock Vespa,” he explains while firing up the engine which emits a growling roar much more menacing then the typical put put of a stock model.


Martin and his winning Vespa racer

“Honestly, we’re just going to ride these bikes to the festival, hang out, drink, eat and then go home,” says Martin laughing. “It’s really just a big meet up for Vespa riders.”

The Vespa La Festa, however, is indeed open to anyone that wants to attend and to enjoy the food, beverages, and music while checking out the variety of Vespa models that are sure to turn up from all over the country.

The Festival begins with a Vespa caravan that starts at Niyam Panit on Mahidon Road at 4pm for those that want to join in on their Vespas. The caravan then ends at Kad Cherng Doi near Chiang Mai University at 5pm, where the festivities will take place including food trucks, a live music performance by Stamp Apiwat, a vintage products market, and a fund raiser to provide helmets for children.

As motorbikes are the predominate mode of transportation in Chiang Mai and all over Thailand, the Vespa provides a vehicle with just a bit more character and a look that stands out form the average run-of-the-mill motorbike. The Vespa has been manufactured since 1946 by Italian manufacturer Piaggio, the name Vespa means wasp in Italian. Although Piaggio has manufactured 144 different models and counting of the famous two wheeler, and made over 20,000 adjustments to the original model released in 1946, the Vespas released today remain distinctly Vespa with their Italian craftsmanship and sleek style. This year’s Vespa La Festa is sure to bring in models of all historical significance, signature sought-afters, customised creations and grocery getters.


Vespa La Festa Chiangmai

June 20

Prasert Land (Kad Cherng Doi)

4pm: Caravan gets together at Niyom Panit on Mahidol road

5pm: Caravan arrives at Prasert Land (Kad Cherng Doi)

– Ride a Vespa or a Piaggio to the event and get free admission and a souvenir (passengers included).

– Tickets, available at the entrance of Prasert Land (Kad Cherng Doi), cost 100 baht. The proceeds will go to the project “Help Save One Life by Giving a Kid a Helmet.”

– Special! The first 500 people who register online get more souvenirs free!

For more information on Vespa La Festa, check out: