By DAVID HILL
Kaikoura is getting ready to party amid the uncertainty of Covid-19.
As Doug and Fonda O’Callahan prepare for the 10th annual Kaikoura Hop, and their first wedding anniversary, they face the possibility of needing to postpone it if New Zealand remains at alert level 2.
“For now we are pressing on with holding it from September 16 to 19, but if we need to move it, we have set aside October 17,” Doug says.
Roadworks on State Highway 1 continue to pose a logistical challenge as the event continues to increase in popularity.
Doug estimates there were more than 1500 cars at the South Bay Racecourse on the Saturday last year and probably more than 3000 cars parked around South Bay, adding up to around 10,000 car movements throughout the day.
“Last year we had more than 4000 cars and the problem is, it’s getting too big for Kaikoura, so we have to look at how we can run large numbers of people in smaller groups,” Doug says.
“We’ve got a few challenges this year with the road, but the council has got behind us in a big way and we have been working with NCTIR (the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance) and the police.”
This year’s theme is “Kaikoura Hop Graffiti 10 Years”, with festivities getting under way with a quiz night at the Groper Bar on Wednesday evening. The next day, Hop organisers are planning a road trip to Blenheim to greet North Island arrivals.
Friday night is drive-in movie night, with a screening of American Graffiti, after the poker run around town.
To manage the traffic, Fonda has two plans for the poker run.
“We will be winging it, so I just want to see how many people there are. If we get not so many people, we can all go together; otherwise we will need to send them to different places.”
Saturday’s car show will have the usual live band, food stalls and bar, market and trade stalls and the “Miss Kaikoura Hop and her pals” competition, while in the evening there will be night cruising and the rock’n roll dance party, with the band Route 66performing.
The week’s events will culminate with the popular burnouts on Sunday, a fundraiser for the Kaikoura Aquatic Centre.