Event for charity lifts economy

Rock and Hop boosts region

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Street work .. More than 600 vehicles make their way through Stafford St, TImaru, during the Caroline Bay Rock and Hop in March. PHOTO: COURIER FILES

by Rachael Comer

An inaugural charity event has raised thousands for its recipient, and brought “huge economic value” to the region.
The Caroline Bay Rock and Hop, held in March, raised money for Hospice South Canterbury and also created more spending in South Canterbury, through the 5000 people it attracted here.
Rock and Hop spokeswoman Jeanna Munro announced this week while some costs were still to be tallied, the event had raised about $40,000.
“We’re really happy with this,” Mrs Munro said.
While it had raised a great amount for a worthy cause, the event’s promotional value was also invaluable, South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wendy Smith said.
“It was of huge economic value to the region,” Mrs Smith said.
“A visitor that stays overnight here is usually about four times the value of a day visitor.
“Given that the Rock and Hop was held over a number of days means those visitors were of significant value.”
She said the promotional value was also a positive. A similar event held in Caloundra, Queensland, now a huge drawcard to the Australian community.
“The visitors go there for the event and then they keep returning to the region.
“When events such as the Rock and Hop get a name for themselves they start to self-build.
“The fact the first one was such a success is absolutely excellent and we are very, very pleased to see it will be running again.”
Hospice South Canterbury general manager Peter O’Neill said the event’s success had been a pleasant surprise.
“When we first started talking about the event we estimated we’d get about 200 cars registered and we hoped for 350, given it was the first time,” Mr O’Neill said.
The Friday night cruise, which attracted about 420 cars, blew organisers away, he said.
“There were 620 vehicles registered for the whole event.
“It was really satisfying.”
Raising money for the day-to-day running of hospice had been a good thing, he said.
“Also being able to give something back to the community was great.
“It was the icing on the cake for us to see everyone out on the Friday night at the cruise and down at the Bay at the weekend.”
Mrs Munro said organisers hoped for the same community support at next year’s Rock and Hop, to be held from March 16-18.
“We’re already getting ready for next year’s,” Mrs Munro said.
“Entries open at the start of July but we know some hotels are already booked out and people are hanging out for entries to open.”
She said the organising committee would be keen to hear from more volunteers to help run the three-day event.
“What we would really like, too, is for the people of South Canterbury to come out and support the event like they did this year.
“The cruise [held on Stafford St on the Friday night of the event] was a highlight for many,” she said.
Next year other towns would also be involved and events were planned in Temuka and Geraldine. A cruise would also being held during the day on the Friday.