The Beach Hop has revved into action and is all go.

About 600 cars are en route up SH25 from Whangamatā to Whitianga where roads have been closed and the people are geared up for the Repco Whitianga Beach Party in their newly upgraded main street.

Locals woke to rain but it's now clearing - just in time for the parade which will begin about 11am.

"Who cares about the rain? It's clearing and we have the cars streaming into the Ford Reserve at Williamson Park in Whangamatā," says Beach Hop president Noddy Watts.

Advertisement

"The Repco Whitianga Beach Party is all go."

"This event has received great support from the Whitianga community, our Mercury Bay Community Board, local media - The Informer, and the Mercury Bay Events Trust who are helping to make this a great event with live music and food," says Thames Coromandel District Council mayor Sandra Goudie.

"A warm welcome and a heartfelt thank you to everyone who comes to enjoy the festivities, gets dressed up, has a boogie and drives around our district in your classic cars. We love your cars.''

Home of New Zealand's biggest celebration of the 50s and 60s, the five-day festival draws 110,000 visitors to celebrate the music, culture, fashion, hot rods, motorbikes, dancing, dragsters and scooters of this golden era. Growing each year, it's one of the largest events of its kind in the world.

Whangamata Area School juniors got the first glimpse of the Beach Hop cars earlier this week. Photo / Alison Smith
Whangamata Area School juniors got the first glimpse of the Beach Hop cars earlier this week. Photo / Alison Smith

In 2017, Beach Hop was declared New Zealand's favourite event of the year at the New Zealand Event Association awards.

A Thames Coromandel District Council survey and estimations in 2018 show last year's hop brought in more than $7 million to the local economy over the five days.

TCDC Events co-ordinator Kirstin Richmond says people should take care on the streets and be aware of road closures. From 7.30am to 3pm the council has closed the following streets for people to party up Beach Hop style:

Albert St (from Hannon Rd to Lee St); Blacksmith Lane (from Albert St to The Esplanade) and The Esplanade (from the boat ramp entrance to Blacksmith Lane).

Advertisement

Residents and some of the visitors to Beach Hop 2019 have put on their dancing shoes and 50s-60s inspired clothing for the event in Whitianga, which will be followed tomorrow in Onemana and then a full lineup of bands, parades, fairs and displays around Whangamata from Friday night to Sunday night.

Among the many prizes up for grabs is this year's 'Beach Hop' car - a 1967 Ford Galaxie, and a brand new Harley Davidson motorbike.

Number plates are also up for auction - including, from Kiwi Plates, a BHOP plate that'll be up for grabs on Saturday March 30 at the Ford Reserve (Williamson Park) from 4pm.