Friday, July 8, 2011

Garterbelts & Gasoline Nostalgia Festival @ Mt. Tamborine April 29th – May 2nd

This article appeared in the 2nd issue of Vintage Caravan Magazine - June/July 2011

Having only just completed my caravan Vicky’s interior makeover the week before, it seemed as good a time as any to hit the road once more and show her off a bit. The occasion: the third annual Garterbelts & Gasoline Nostalgia Festival. Held for the first time in the idyllic location of Mt. Tamborine in the Gold Coast Hinterland, the euphoria started to set in even before we arrived at the showgrounds, as the perfect weather and breathtaking scenic drive up the mountain filled me with a sense of anticipation and adventure. The thrill of taking my little Vicky out and about to a new setting in conditions like this is one of life’s better joys and always makes me so proud and happy to be a caravanner.

Once inside the showgrounds, the pink flamingos were put in place and the banana lounge brought out to take advantage of the sensational summer-like weather. Then it was off the nearby Saint Bernard’s Hotel for a steak meal, some live rockabilly jives and the judging of the Miss Garterbelts & Gasoline pin-up contest.  The party went on well into the night and saw me crawling back into the van way past my usual bedtime.
Early on Sunday morning, even with earplugs in, the familiar rumbling of hot rods could be heard as streams of entrants and their pre-1970 vehicles rolled in to the showgrounds in preparation for the big day – the classic and custom car displays. Several vintage caravans, along with Vintage Caravan Magazine’s own “Vicky” were also on display and proved to be very popular with the crowds. And I was stoked to spot this pink Vauxhall!

The great weather continued throughout the entire weekend creating ideal circumstances for a long weekend festival of lowbrow art, tiki carving, hot rods, classic and custom cars, vintage fashion, pinup photography, market stalls, plenty of rockin’ live music and lots and lots of dancing.  Along with over 300 show cars, a crowd of almost 4,000 filled the showgrounds with most in full retro regalia creating a sea of slick back hairdos for the guys and circle skirts, petticoats, polka dots and parasols for the gals. 
The next day, with all the cars gone, I was lucky enough to get some photos done of Vicky and I by the renowned pinup photographer: the gorgeous Helen Mclean before hitting the road for the 2-hour journey home. Assisted by Miss Christine from Lindy’s Charm School for Girls on hair and makeup, the Helen McLean pinup photo booth proved to be one of the most popular attractions of the festival.

A big shout out has to go to Paul Biagini and wife Amanda for putting together what was probably one of the best and definitely the most fun events I’ve been to in a long time. The choice of location and the enthusiasm and dedication to the nostalgia lifestyle shown by the festival organisers created a fantastic festival vibe and Vicky and I can’t wait for next year’s event!

This is the Saint Bernard from St. Bernard's Hotel at Mt. Tamborine who obviously has a very tough life - I found him lounging in the Pokies lounge!

Vintage Vans turn heads at Lennox:

This is the article I wrote for the very first issue of Vintage Caravan Magazine - May 2011

The best thing about owning a vintage caravan is hitching it up and setting off down the highway on yet another adventure to a destination far away enough from home to feel like a getaway, but close enough to come home from by Monday. I know as soon as the van is on the back of the car, my spirit starts to soar and small butterflies play in my tummy as I relish in the thought of yet another weekend change of scenery with my portable little home. But what makes a vintage caravan outing even more fun is being able to share it with a whole bunch of other vintage caravan enthusiasts.

On the first weekend of February a group of vintage caravanners from south east Queensland and northern NSW converged on the idyllic location of Lake Ainsworth in the seaside holiday location of Lennox Head, NSW for a weekend of fun in the sun, swimming in the tea tree lake and great company. Having experienced nothing but rain for almost the entire summer, we were greeted with a heat wave, starry nights and bright sunny days. Annexes were put up and banana lounges unfolded and boogies boards were fetched from boots of cars as the kids and road-weary parents hit the nearby lake for a cooling sunset dip.

After convoying down the highway with several other vintage vanners and a scenic detour through Byron Bay, Friday night dinner was a big communal sausage sizzle dinner on the BBQ’s.  The laughs and yarns continued well into the night, and long after the caravan park lights had been turned off. These first night chats are always a great way for vanners to catch up on any latest developments in caravan restorations and compare notes on the journey. On Saturday morning a few dedicated and less sleep-deprived members of the group decided to hit up the local garage sales and op shops in search of vintage caravan treasure while others took in the sights and beaches of Byron Bay. Sunday saw the owners of all the hot rods and classic cars line up to take any willing passengers for a joy ride around the scenic coastal roads giving the locals at the Lennox Heads pub some great Sunday afternoon entertainment.

 The Lennox Head weekend featured a great assortment of around thirty vintage caravans with a large number of Olympics fibreglass vans convening in one corner of the Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park. With all eras covered from the 30’s through to the 70’s, there were on offer quite a few aluminium clad vans such as Viscounts, Chesneys and Franklins, a good selection of older styled bondwood vans, including a few folding varieties and a couple of Sunliner fiberglass bubbles in various states of restoration.  Everyone had such a good time that they decided to do it all again a month later, although the weather let us down the second time around, sometimes it’s not about the destination, or even the journey – sometimes it’s just about the company you share it all with.