Roads were closed to make way for a parade of classic cars, women in 50s and 60s fashion - and men in undies - at the Repco Beach Hop 20 warm-up in Waihi today.
The town laid on the welcome for Beach Hoppers who drove from around the country to attend the 20th anniversary event that celebrates 50s and 60s culture, cars and fashion.
Among the highlights was a small but perfectly performed Undie 500 where participants relay raced Waihi's Seddon St with a pair of floral undies as the baton.
Good sport Hauraki Mayor Toby Adams was among the competitors in the Undie 500, complete with a bright pink wig.
By far the most coveted title was that for Best Dressed woman, with more than a dozen dames sashaying for the crowds outside Waihi Memorial Hall. The title went to Miss Sandy Dee (Sandra Strickland) who drove down from Silverdale north of Auckland in her '51 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.
"I"ve been coming for 18 years, it's an incredible event and this is my favourite day," she said.
"I love it, Waihi is such a great little town. I wouldn't miss it, even a week beforehand we were still crossing our fingers it would be on."
After an eight-month postponement and a weather forecast threatening heavy rain, organiser Noddy Watts was among the thousands with a smile on his face.
The event opened five days of festivities that will bring an injection of millions of dollars into the Coromandel Peninsula.
Tomorrow is the Whitianga Beach Party followed by the Castrol Edge Thunder Cruise to Onemana and three days of bands, rock 'n' roll dancing, classic car parades, vintage markets and more at Whangamata until Sunday.
The Ford NZ Kiwi Rock 'n' Roll Legends Concert in Williamson Park, Whangamata, tomorrow night has sold out.
"A lot of festivals wear out, this one shows no signs of that," said Nigel Sanderson, drummer with Tim and the Rockets.
Tim Armstrong, singer and guitarist in the band, and bass player Don McClumpha were at the first rock 'n' roll festival in Whangamata 20 years ago, before it became Beach Hop, with Noddy at the helm of a team of volunteers.
"It's great," Don said. "This year has been tough with Covid. A lot of people haven't been to Whangamata and this gives them an excuse to get there."
Tim and the Rockets can be heard at Whangamata Club tomorrow night for an Elton John Tribute show and in the Jack Daniels Marquee in Whangamata on Friday and Saturday nights from 8.30pm, when crowds will line the main street under the constant tune of revving and thrumming engines.
Tauranga's Shona Sharp was a finalist in the Best Dressed and looked the part in her adorable 1960 107E Ford Prefect complete with "pink bits".
She named the car Peggy Sue and it has been a labour love for her and her friends since buying the vehicle two years ago.
Stacey Riddick, aka Cherry Diamond, brought her youngsters Payten and Zavier in costume from New Plymouth and won the prize for best-dressed family.