Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Car engine with driver

Car enthusiasts will flock to Canberra for Summernats in 2022. Photo: Fil.

It’s a scorching hot day and the engines are running around Lonsdale St. Summernats is back in 2022 with the heartfelt support of the ACT government, but not quite as you knew it decades ago.

The 34th Summer Night on 6 to 9 January will feature a 500-car cruise down Northbourne Avenue that will briefly shut down the light rail as a massive number of vehicles enter and exit the EPIC.

A new Fringe Festival will take place Friday and Saturday nights in Braddon, closing Lonsdale St and some surrounding areas for a Summernats-exclusive event that will include live music and entertainment venues.

Nearly 2,500 vehicles have entered, and organizer Andy Lopez has strong support from Visit Canberra, the ACT government, Braddon Collective and Braddon’s United Retail Traders, all of whom were ready for Friday’s lunch at the Elouera St car wash.

It’s far from 2020, when the car party kicked off on the hottest day in Canberra’s history, when the city was covered in stifling bushfire smoke and against fierce opposition that questioned the event’s social license.

A well-organized community cruise was run in collaboration with police earlier this year, but a number of disruptive incidents elsewhere, including illegal cruises and burnouts, annoyed genuine car enthusiasts and antagonized authorities.

Andy Lopez freely acknowledges that Summernats has had “a certain reputation” in the past.

“Like most things, some of it was deserved, and some was perception,” he says, noting that Summernats has existed in a period of great social and cultural change over the past 30 years.

“We have evolved as society’s attitudes have changed. What we expect, what we want to deal with and how we feel about things is radically different.

“We’ve been trying to focus back on the things that were beautiful about this event, which is what you see here today – amazing dedicated people with amazing cars who just want to meet and have it damn good.”

Blue tool that blows smoke

Burnout is still a part of Summernats, but the event has changed. Photo: Peter Norton.

Sir. Lopez says there is significantly less tolerance for antisocial behavior and that the organization has given much thought to their stance on safety for women and children. The wet t-shirt contest and strip show are long gone, as are Miss Summernats and the use of promotional models.

“What we recognize is that we want to celebrate women for Summernats, but we did it the wrong way. There are lots of amazing female car builders, women who love cars, women who race and women who do “Summer nights must be inclusive and it must be a place where everyone feels safe and comfortable,” he says.

READ ALSO: Summernats returns, but this week’s cruises are all about the car lovers’ community

Several years ago, the event changed terms and conditions, so that ticket buyers must accept a declaration when purchasing that Summernats is a safe place for women and that they will comply with the event’s requirements.

“I do not think any other event in Australia does that. We are not the only event that should, but we are the only event that did. You come to Summernats and it’s wild, it’s crazy, but it’s safe and it’s fun, ”Mr Lopez said.

Summer night city cruise

Summer Night’s City Cruise continues in 2022. Photo: Peter Norton.

While the Prime Minister’s hopes of an electric Summernats are unlikely to be met for the time being, the economic results are impressive. On current reservations, Summernats attendees are likely to account for 120,000 room nights and a $ 30 million financial injection into the money-making Canberra tourism and hospitality sector.

“Taking the outskirts into town is about spreading love,” Mr Lopez says.

“A large part of the benefit currently lies with EPIC. The ACT government and society have invested in our event and they are getting a good return.

“Now it’s about making it better and making this a positive and rewarding event for the whole community. It’s the beginning of more things to come and it’s just getting better.”

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