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Car central . . .Caroline Bay is a sea of classic vehicles for the annual South Canterbury Hospice Rock and Hop. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Claire Allison

South Canterbury car owners need to get their motors running if they want to be part of next year’s Hospice Rock and Hop.

Hospice marketing and events manager Jeanna Munro is predicting the event will draw the full quota of cars well before Christmas.

Registrations for the March 2020 event opened to this year’s participants on July 1 and to allcomers on July 14.

Mrs Munro said half the available car spaces were already booked, and the Friday and Saturday night parties were selling fast.

Organisers set a limit of 1000 vehicles able to register for the event, and Mrs Munro said she knew some local car enthusiasts were disappointed to have missed out on taking part in this year’s Rock and Hop.

In procession . . . Classic cars proceeded down Stafford St in Timaru for the Caroline Bay Rock and Hop Friday Night Cruise earlier this year. PHOTO: GRETA YEO MAN

“I’d hate for them to miss out. As much as it’s about bringing people to town, it’s also about the local people being able to join in. I know it will slow down, but it’s quite scary how fast they’re selling, and at this stage I think we will sell out well before Christmas.”

Next year’s Rock and Hop will run from March 19-22 – a day longer than previously – starting off on the Thursday with a cruise to Riverstone and tours of the castle there.

Mrs Munroe said the four castle tours, taking 30 people a time, had completely sold out in less than 24 hours.

“Initially, we thought it would be a gradual thing, that the Thursday cruise would build up over the years, but it’s been really popular.”

Mrs Munro said the extra day had been added to the event for a couple of reasons.

“We can’t fit much more into the timetable we already have, and we’re hopeful that people will stay another night in Timaru, and that benefits the whole district.”

The “Wear your Parts” wearable arts competition had struggled to attract entrants, so was not included in the 2020 Rock and Hop. Instead, the Friday night would offer a Surfing USA party, followed by the Four on the Floor party on the Saturday night, featuring New Zealand-born Nashville recording artist Che Orton.

“Initially, we thought it would be a gradual thing, that the Thursday cruise would build up over the years, but it’s been really popular.”

Mrs Munro said people planning to take part in the 2020 Rock and Hop needed to register on the website, rockandhop.co.nz, or phone the hospice.

This year’s Rock and Hop raised $105,000 for Hospice South Canterbury, well up on 2018’s $75,000.

The event is gaining a good reputation among car enthusiasts. Mrs Munro said after this year’s event organisers received positive comments from participants about the size of the crowds turning out for the Friday night cruise in particular, and about how well the event was run.