“2023 is going to be by far the largest event we’ve ever had.”
Event director John Rae says that with more than 900 cars registered for the event, this year’s Americana celebrations are set to be the biggest ever.
“It’s a little bit pressing. The entry fees haven’t changed since July 2021. The costs have been through the roof but luckily with the number of extra people registering we’ve been able to fund it.”
The cars will be cruising Taranaki roads from February 22-25, making a number of stops in towns during that time. They will stop in Opunake on Wednesday, February 22, Waitara and Inglewood on Thursday, and then Stratford and Hāwera on the Friday.
“The road crews are working with us. We will have to take a detour when we leave Hāwera which means no gravel or roadworks, which is great. We’re very thankful to the road crews for working with us and also recognising the significance of this event.”
John says the cars will be parked in Stratford longer this year, arriving at 9.50am in the morning and departing for Hāwera at 12.45pm.
“It’s beneficial for Stratford and also our entrants as they get more time in the town. In the past as the first car is leaving, the last arrives in Stratford so it will be great for everyone to be regrouped to leave for Hāwera.”
There are a number of fun events planned on the day in Stratford. Stratford Business Association chairman Mathew Dimock says they are stoked to have Americarna back in Stratford and have organised a carnival that is not to be missed.
“With over 900 classic American vehicles stopping in town we wanted to put on a show and support our local businesses. Visitors can enjoy live entertainment, market stalls, a bouncy castle, food trucks, face painting and more. Plus we have the TET Kings Theatre running tours, the cellar door will be open at the local gin distillery, Fenton Street Arts Collective, Percy Thomson Gallery will have their latest exhibition on, and the local brews will be flowing at Forgotten 43 Brewery. We encourage everyone to come down, check out the cars and support our local shops and eateries. We can’t wait.”
Hāwera will also have a variety of events running, with a mechanical bull, live entertainment by Andre for Sonic Delusion and a fashion parade.
South Taranaki (STDC) events and vibrancy co-ordinator Nikki Watson says there will be an excellent display of the cars, and fun activities as well.
“We will have the mechanical bull, with the best time announced at 4.15, a fashion parade for Ms and Mr Americarna, best cowboy swag and best celebrity strut prizes. There will be stallholders throughout the town and businesses will also be participating, with competitions for the best Americarna window display and best Americarna dress-up.”
STDC events co-ordinator Emma Vennell says the fun times wouldn’t be possible without the support of volunteers.
“We’d like to thank all the volunteers who are helping with the event. The Normanby and Ōpunake Lions are helping on the day, as well as the council staff. It’s going to be a big day out.”
John says the event will boost the province.
“Right down to a cold beverage at a pub, an icecream at a dairy, or accommodation, this is bringing a lot of people into our region which will help our business owners and give them a great and well-needed cash injection.”
When: February 22-25
Timetable: Wednesday, February 22: arrive Ōpunake 11.30am. Thursday, February 23: Arrive: Waitara 12.30pm, arrive Inglewood 4pm. Friday February 24: arrive Stratford 9:50am, arrive Hāwera 1.30pm. Saturday February 25: Americarnival 10am-3pm at New Plymouth CBD.