The instigator of Wheels at Wānaka Allan Dippie was thrilled to bits at how the event panned out over the Easter weekend.
24,000 to 25,000 members of the public streamed through the gates over the three-day event but another 4000 to 5000 people were involved in the trade events so about 30,000 individuals either came to watch it or helped stage the event, which was pretty amazing, Dippie said.
“It was a lot bigger than our first event which was about 12,000. So from 12,000 to 30,000 is a big jump.
“It didn't go without its logistical problems. By far the majority of people came on Saturday which meant we were hit with a huge crowd. We had a lot of trouble creating enough car parks and ended up having to cut some fences into paddocks to make more car parks. We were stunned on Saturday by how many people came.
“I must apologise, it took some people an hour to get into the event.
“My team was amazing. We were overwhelmed by the crowds but it was a nice problem to have.
“I think it's the history in motion that appeals to people,” Dippie said.
“Both Hayden Patton and Greg Murphy were demonstrating cars. There were earthmoving guys moving earth around, including those who built the Clyde Dam. There was the main parade, and people didn't know what was going to come out next. One minute it was old tractors and the next it was exotic cars. But what they loved was the history we were able to show. We had a 1904 electric car parading at the same time as Hayden Patton's electric rally car.”
The wind was a huge problem, he said. There were gale force winds very early on Sunday morning. At 2.30 am there was a team on the ground securing tents. At 3 am contractors with water carts were commissioned and they sprinkled water on the show through to opening time and that enabled organisers to hold the show on Sunday. So it went from a near disaster to a “superb show.”
And then the winds started to drop as the gates opened, Dippie said.
“We were pleased overall with the weather over the three days.
“Two years ahead? We have announced that there will be a show on April 8 – 9 in 2023.”
The show will keep growing beyond 30,000, he said.
“We will have to be a bit careful that we don't get too big. From an organisers point of view, it's like having two tigers by the tail.
“The striking thing was the support from around the country. Most people that came weren't from Wānaka- there were people from all corners of New Zealand, a lot who had never been to Wānaka,” Dippie said.
Proceeds from the show will go to Heart Kids New Zealand.
Read edition 1021 of the Wānaka Sun here.