Bay of Plenty Times
By: Rebecca Mauger
Waihi residents are getting ready for the event of their year — the Warm Up Party for Beach Hop — which sees the town transform into a rock and roll and classic car haven.
Hundreds of classic car and hot rod enthusiasts participate in the nostalgic warm-up party, and thousands more flock for the big party on March 27.
The warm-up party in Waihi is the first day of the rock-and-roll extravaganza — the first leg of the trip — as they make their way up to Whangamatā for another four days of festival fun (from March 27-31).
Waihi has hosted the Repco Beach Hop magic for the past 11 years.
The warm-up party is a massive undertaking for the town and costs between $12,000-$15,000, says Go Waihi chairperson Kerry Single.
Streets including School Lane, Seddon St, part of Haszard St, Rosemont Rd, Moresby Rd, Gilmour St and a small part of state highway two to accommodate the cars and crowds (parking and road closes to be confirmed).
Between 650 and 700 cars are destined for Waihi.
“We believe that there are at least three cars coming direct from Australia to be here,” Kerry says. “The pumphouse area will also be covered with show cars.”
“It’s an amazing day,” says Go Waihi deputy chairperson Rae Waterhouse.
“It’s full of colour, people come dressed up in their retro outfits. The vibe in the town is really special, people love it.”
Kerry describes Repco Beach Hop as an international event and one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
Locally, they receive help from many community groups and clubs.
“We have Lion club members, Māori wardens and Go Waihi members who have volunteered their time to help leading up to and on the day. They all helping with various tasks such as marshalling cars at the road closures, putting up signage, checking and marking out stall sites, sorting out any issues that might arise on the day, generally being there as a presence to assist visitors on the day,” Single says.
As well as displays of hot rods and classic cars, there will be entertainment and stall holders.
The day kicks off with a Go Waihi Warm Up Party Cruise at Ford Reserve, followed by the main Go Waihi Warm Up Party in the town centre from 10.30am-3pm.
Bands include Al and the Wild Kayz (from 11am-2pm) outside 100% Waihi. Tim and the Rockets will be at the pumphouse (11am-2pm) and Gerry Lee will play at Memorial Hall (11am-3pm).
Visitors are encouraged to get into the rock and roll swing of things and dress up in nostalgic garb — there are prizes for the best-dressed men and women. Shops and eateries will be open.
Go Waihi would like to remind people the flying of drones on the day is prohibited.
Click photo to enlarge: