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Repco Beach Hop Festival – Whamo! This is a huge event – the largest of its kind in the world. It was expected that a crowd of 110,000 would flock to Whangamata over the Friday to Sunday period. This huge event began on the Wednesday prior, hundreds travelled in their spectacular cars all around the Coromandel Peninsula on the Friday and the festival itself ran from Friday to Sunday.
 |  Stan Stewart  |  ,

This is the number-one nostalgia event of its kind. It celebrates the best of the muscle cars of the USA in the 50’s and 60’s.

It is very much a family affair. In many cases, Dad, Mum and the kids proudly rode to Whangamata in these gleaming behemoths. Grandparents and oldies are particularly chuffed. The event takes them back and some oldies find a car they used to own.

“Mine was never as shiny as that!”

The event is free but attendees are strongly encouraged to purchase an event programme for $5. These programmes became tickets in draws for significant cash prizes.

This is a very well behaved, alcohol-free event (except in designated areas). No skids or burn outs allowed. The cars may be old but there are no bombs. All vehicles must be registered and have a WOF.

And then there are the hot rods. Weird and wonderful – products of petrol-head imaginations – mechanical cartoons. Nonetheless, every one of them had a WOF and was registered.

Noddy Watts the principal organiser of this year’s event has been associated with the Beach Hop from the beginning in 2001. He had built his first hot rod at the age of 18 and has built many more in the intervening years.

Staging/organising the Beach Hop is a major task. It happens because Noddy is supported by 200 volunteers. Under Noddy’s direction the team make it happen and clean up as well. Noddy says, “This year, 2000 vehicles have registered along with 100 classic caravans. This is the largest assembly of classic caravans ever seen in New Zealand.”

Rock N Roll has always been associated with the event. In fact, the first Beach Hop was scheduled to coincide with the Rock N Roll Club’s annual hop. This year there was a Hip Hop Idol competition and 18 bands.

The event’s sponsor is Repco. This is the leading company in Australia for automotive parts and accessories. Repco NZ employees do a lot of heavy lifting for this event. Repco’s relationship with this event is more than adding a brand to the title. Their staff are involved from start to final pack-up.