Summernats 2018: Way-out street machines and the colourful characters who build them with precision and drive them with pride fascinate teens and adults alike. Throw in screaming noise, billowing smoke, fireworks and huge crowds, and what’s not to like about Summernats for wide-eyed youngsters, too?
It was 1987 when Canberran Chic Henry built a burnout track at what is now known as Exhibition Park in Canberra. A year later the car enthusiast staged the first Summernats motor festival, bringing in cars such as the heavily-modified Pontiac J2000 from the United States for 100 per cent wow-factor.
Back then the event was aimed squarely at car enthusiasts. Today, Australia’s biggest horsepower party has something for everyone.
In January 2017, Summernats saw 119,000 people enjoy Australia’s biggest automotive festival, which played host to more than 2500 elite machines.
People travel from around the globe for the Canberra event, and family entertainment is high on the organizers’ agenda.
Kids Club is a staple component of the festival, offering rides and sideshows for youngsters of all ages, and an ever-evolving range of food vendors to keep energy levels up. Lots of rewards are on offer for little tackers with creative flair. Summernats gives four prizes for the presentation of a creative portrayal of the event. This could be the clothes children dress up in, a hat they’ve made, shoes modelled on their favourite bike, pedal car, trike or billy cart. There is plenty of inspiration to inspire creative expression.
Of all the exhilarating events, the most outrageous are the three burnout competitions, in which warriors (drivers) battle it out in their well worked-over steel machines to make the final 50 on the Sunday. This is serious grunt. From here, the Burnout Master is chosen. Instant and constant smoke and finely honed driver skills are essential. In the quest for noise and fun, entrants leave nothing in the tank — reversing or stopping costs points.
Aside from all the family events, meet-and-greet opportunities are available with some of the biggest names in the automotive universe. Last year Farmtruck and Azn, stars of the Discovery Channel hit TV show Street Outlaws, were on hand to sign autographs and have their photos taken.
Accompanied children are allowed at Summernats at night and the Saturday night Supercruise and fireworks show are always a hit with families.
The four-day Summernats festival kicks off on Thursday, January 4 2018. Family passes begin at $92 on the Thursday, $162 for the Friday, $187 for the Saturday and $109 for the Sunday. Visit: summernats.com.au for more information.
Heading to the capital for Summernats this January? Abode Gungahlin is located within a few minutes drive from Exhibition Park and boasts comfortable, family and group friendly rooms. Book your stay here.