I have to start this report with our CFNATS in Albury at Easter. To just say it was a great success would be a massive understatement. The feedback from everyone during and after the event was positive and people are still talking about how great it was - even wanting us to make it a yearly event rather than every two years. To see people who have never met, from all over Australia, become great friends was just inspiring and makes us keen to go through all of the dramas of organising this event. Looking back at what was achieved by the Committee, when none of us has ever organised an event like this, is phenomenal and at this point I would like to say thank you to all the other nine committee members you are all awesome and I look forward to our next meetings and our trips to Albury. Pulling into Uncle Leo’s on Thursday morning to join the convoy was the start of the event for me, seeing all of the Camaros and Firebirds lined up with drivers and cars fuelled up and ready to run was awesome. With Kevin giving the driver’s briefing we were off, it would have been a great site to see, first stop Goulburn for a fill up for the thirsty ones and an empty out for the human ones, then Gundagai for lunch and more filling and emptying. After that it was the home run into Albury, our home for the next few days, with over thirty cars driving down the main street to our hotels. We booked out the entire Paddle Steamer Motel for the weekend, some of us electing to stay until Tuesday. It is a great spot close enough to the main drag and all the shops and pubs to be able to walk to and it had plenty of safe parking as we were allowed to lock the back gate with our own locks. Thursday night was a free night to do whatever you wished with some checking out the eateries and others staying in their rooms with fast foods. Friday, which was the official start of the event saw a cruise past our chosen charity the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre, again with over seventy cars from all the states coming along it made for some great photos. With a long line of Camaros and Firebirds pulled up on the side of the road, then back to our motel for CFNATS registrations, even this was fun with the hotel being full of our cars and happy people to meet. The girls and guys working inside did a fantastic job of processing all the entrant’s paperwork, giving out the different event tickets, entrant stickers, goody bags, getting their event jackets (which were included in your entry fee of just $140.00) as well as selling event shirts and raffle tickets for our various raffles. It was a buzz of activity, and it went extremely well. There was even a mini car show in the car park of the motel. That night was our Meet'n'Mingle with a Hawaiian theme and apart from being let down by the food it was a great night with a sea of colour as you walked in and the start of some great friendships.
Saturday morning the committee was up when it was still dark setting up for show day, but it was well worth it watching over one hundred and thirty cars coming in and filling up Hovell Tree Park, our location for Saturday’s display. As this is a national event, those that chose to have their cars judged for one of the many trophies up for grabs. This in itself was an epic venture and again I would like to thank the judges for their help and also to everyone else that helped out on the day from the people on the gate, those directing cars to their parking spots, the people selling raffle tickets, jackets, t-shirts and processing the day entrants. The show went off without a hitch and it brought a lot of the locals out to check out our cars, with the sponsors also getting a chance to show off their goodies. All round it was a great show, which was followed by a great cruise, starting with us doing a 'Deanie', which is what the locals call cruising down the main drag (Dean St). We followed that up with a country drive ending up on the Bethanga Bridge, which was an awesome photo opportunity with our event photographer Luke from Hunter Media getting some fantastic photos.
That night we were off to the Drive-In which was a blow-up screen at the Albury Showground (I know what you are thinking but it was full size and picture quality was perfect). We watched the first Transformers movie, which is a great car-themed movie featuring Camaros. Food was provided by the Lion’s Club canteen with hot dogs, steak sandwiches, burgers and more. We also had a popcorn, fairy floss, and slushy vendor, which was tasteful and was heaps of fun. Sunday was our fuel day, the 98 octane type and the other type is the one you make with grapes. The first one was at a track across the border in Victoria, where for an additional cost you could drive around the Wodonga TAFE Track, at your own pace (untimed) and later we had a 'Go-to-Whoa' session (which was my favourite). We had a first aid medic there, food, and a team that were hired to marshal the event and make sure it was all done correctly. Everyone had a blast, nothing got broken or bent, and we will most definitely be doing it again, an exhilarating day.
The second one was a wine tour. For an additional cost we had a bus picking up the participants at our motel and going to two local wineries for tasting and then going to Rutherglen for lunch. I was at the track but from what I was told they had a lot of laughs. Not long after we returned, we were off to the presentation dinner. With over two hundred people in the room Craig and I MC’d the night (with behind the scenes help from the rest of the crew) reading out our thanks to all, and presenting trophies to our worthy entrants. All in between eating dinner and presenting raffle prizes to the winners. Even this went well, ending a great weekend and one we will be repeating in two years’ time. We are proud to have been able to donate over $10,000.00 to the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund. So, get your 2024 Easter weekend freed up and be ready for an even better event coming to you.
Your Committee will be heading down again next Easter to find more places of interest. If you have any suggestions, please come forward and talk to us.
Thanks again to the team, you are the best.