Kaikoura Hop finds new ground as new events added to attract car enthusiasts

Miss Kaikoura Hop organiser Fonda Novis and Kaikoura Hop organiser Doug O'Callahan.

Miss Kaikoura Hop organiser Fonda Novis and Kaikoura Hop organiser Doug O'Callahan.

Final registrations are not yet known but this year's Kaikoura Hop has more events and is expected to draw big numbers over the four-day weekend.

Hundreds are expected to pack into the South Bay Racecourse on Thursday when it turns into Hop city becoming the central meeting place for hundreds of cars, cruising, fun, food and entertainment. 

The venue was changed to the racecourse last year to accommodate more cars.

This year a big food court and pop-up shops will be set up and the number of trade stalls has doubled, with major sponsors Repco and Penrite setting up a huge marquee-shop.

Even Miss Kaikoura Hop is getting a make-over, with extra categories added to the popular pin-up competition.

Sponsor Christchurch-based Rockabilly and vintage inspired clothing store Kabella Baby will judge the competition.

Miss Hop organiser Fonda Novis said pin-up is a whole new world.

"It's always been Miss Hop and Miss Kaikoura Junior, but this year we've thrown in Grease's best-loved characters - Sandie and Danny, "said Novis.

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Miss Kaikoura Teen, Miss Kaikoura Sandy, Kaikoura Hop Danny have been added, and for the younger boys, The Greasers. 

"Last year was so big, and I didn't expect it to get that big, so now people need to register, although the entry is free," Novis said.

This year has proved more difficult with the roads closed said organiser Doug O'Callahan with the lack of accommodation, pubs and food outlets.

"Although a few are back open, the big entertainment places brought in a lot of people, and provided meals as well.

"There were also a lot of motels not operating and waiting for repairs, so we've done it a bit different this year," said O'Callahan.

Instead of the cruise to Picton on the first day everyone will meet for an evening car cruise "to show off a bit".

In the evening a Hawaiian Beach Party is planned at Gooch's Beach, and later a drive-in movie at South Bay Racecourse.

 The popular burn-out pad will be back on Sunday, and there will be several cruises around town so the whole community can catch a glimpse of the cars.

A Shake Rattle Roll party will be held on Saturday, which is open to the public if numbers permit.

O'Callahan said the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) has been "absolutely awesome" working to get State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura opened earlier than scheduled.

"They are going to try and open the road on Thursday at 1pm, and close it later over the weekend at 7pm to make it easier for Christchurch people to come up, he said."

"Over the weekend we should see a lot of cars, although it's still a great unknown how many cars will be here.

"The town will be full and we are still seeing a lot of registrations coming in," O'Callahan said. 

The Kaikoura Hop is on from Thursday September 14 to Sunday 17.

 - The Marlborough Express


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