Shepparton car festival Springnats, which started in 1992, is celebrating its 25th birthday this weekend.
‘‘It was my idea from the outset,’’ operations manager Les Adams said.
Sitting down at the Victoria Park Lake eating dinner with his family one evening, Mr Adams thought there was a serious problem on the streets of Shepparton.
‘‘There were people putting oil on the roads to do skids,’’ he said.
‘‘I saw some close calls and thought something needs to be done.’’
Not one to sit around, he called local MP of the time Don Kilgour and Shepparton police Inspector Len Taylor.
‘‘We had numerous meetings with the council and with DECA (Driver Education Centre of Australia) to stage the first event,’’ Mr Adams said.
The first two-day attracted 100 cars and about 1000 enthusiasts, but grew dramatically after three or four years.
‘‘We negotiated with the council to move to the showgrounds in 2009 which proved to be a great decision,’’ Mr Adams said.
‘‘It was easier to control and there were more creature comforts like shade and grandstands, so it was a no-brainer.’’
The biggest event of the Springnats was held in 2002, when in excess of 60000 people turned out for the event, along with 1200 competitors.
‘‘Due to an unfortunate incident, that was unrelated to the event, it created a decrease in numbers for a few years,’’ Mr Adams said.
‘‘Since then, numbers have steadily increased with the help from the council and local authorities.’’
This weekend, a number of special activities are planned for the 25th anniversary which will begin on Friday night.
‘‘It all started with a committee of 32 and of the original members there is still 20-odd that are involved now,’’ Mr Adams said.
‘‘We have around 140 volunteers for the event and drag in about $6-9million economically for the town.’’
Mr Adams said he was proud of the legacy of the event which had an excellent safety record.
‘‘We’ve never had to make an insurance claim,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s not a business, it’s a hobby and passion... I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing it evolve... hopefully we’ve got another enjoyable 25 years to come.’’
Springnats will be held from Friday to Sunday, November 24 to 26. For more information see www.autofest.com.au