Whangamata fills up fast as fans seek out petrol-head heaven

By Lesley Staniland

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YELLOW BIRD: In town for the Whangamata Beach Hop. PHOTO/LESLEY STANILAND
YELLOW BIRD: In town for the Whangamata Beach Hop. PHOTO/LESLEY STANILAND

Beach Hop started early this year, coming hot on the heels of Easter, and has attracted a huge crowd which is expected to exceed last year's crowd by at least 10,000.

Thames-Coromandel District Council area manager Garry Towler said 80 more cars did the trip to Tairua for the Repco Beach Party than last year.

"The whole town has been busier than last year, with people coming early for Easter and staying on for Beach Hop. I'm picking we're going to beat last year's 120,000 total on Saturday," Mr Towler said.

He said that by Friday midday there had been no trouble or incidents.

St John Ambulance Whangamata station manager Don Mahoney said crews had been quiet and not as busy as anticipated.

The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend was unable to contact Senior Sergeant Graham Shields, who was in charge of policing the event, but police checkpoints had been set up in several areas each day.

Today's programme is really rocking, with the Grand Parade at 10am led by rock n roll groups from around New Zealand and Australia.

Also on today are the NZ Petrolhead Vintage Market, the Hop Idol finals, the main prizegiving at 5pm, the retro caravan show, the Tot Rod show, Cracklefest, bands, dancing in the street, junkyard fashion show, the Retro Pin-Up competition and heaps more.

The big event today will be the draws for the Ford Hot Rod, the vintage caravan or $10,000 cash.

Sunday sees the Nostalgia Fair at Williamson Park, the rock n roll church service at the Baptist Church, a surf fest, trade stalls - and more cars!

- Bay of Plenty Times

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