NEWSTEAD business owners were the big winners from the Chopped Rod & Custom festival.
Stores in the small town were kept busy as a steady stream of car enthusiasts flocked to the three-day event.
Newstead General Store owner Karen Bradfield said the number of visitors was “good for everybody”.
“Business would have increased by about 25 per cent over the weekend,” she said.
Staff at the Crown Hotel were kept busy by people driving through the bottle shop.
“It went really well; there was probably a 50 per cent increase in numbers coming through,” hotel owner Phyllis McCarthy said. “It helped to boost sales which is what you want coming out of winter.”
Event organiser Kyle Ford said the festival had doubled in size from last year.
“It was definitely the best weekend we’ve had and we’re absolutely over the moon,” he said. “It will definitely be bigger and better next year with changes for the better.”
Mr Ford was yet to count ticket sales, but said there had been about 5000 visitors.
“All weekend there was nothing but smiles and joy, and the ambience was amazing right throughout the event,” he said. “The people coming through were all really good.
“It’s moved away from being a car festival – even though people say it’s one of the best hot rod festivals in the world – to having a bit of everything, including live bands.”
Castlemaine police Sergeant Peter Lukaitis said attendees were generally well behaved.
“We had one drink-driver on Friday night and one drunk locked up on Saturday night,” he said.
“But apart from that, everyone appeared to be well behaved, which is pretty good for an event that size.
“We were reasonably happy with everyone’s behaviour.”