By MURRAY SIMPSON
WINTERSUN played chicken with the weather this weekend and came out a winner.
Prospects looked grim on Saturday morning as rain bucketed down, threatening to wash out the main parade.
But right on queue, 20 minutes before the parade began, the rain stopped.
And the luck held for what turned out to be by far the biggest and most successful Wintersun carnival ever.
"Last year we had 760 cars in the concourse - this year we had 1000 on display and closed it off at that," said Wintersun chief executive officer Barry McNamara.
The weekend of rock-era nostalgia came to a climax yesterday afternoon with a bid to stage the world's biggest rock and roll dance.
Griffiths Street was blocked off for the event and dancers invited to join in for a six-minute dance session.
Wintersun organisers had contacted the Guiness Book of Records who laid down the rules.
"They asked us to provide photographic evidence and we had to have a JP on hand to witness the event," said Mr McNamara.
"There's no such category at the moment so it's over to the Guiness people to decide whether to make it an official record."
In Saturday's grand parade first prize in the novelty section went to Lakeside Christian College while the best float overall went to the Coast to Coast Rockers group.
Yesterday's action was kick-started by a service at St Peter's Anglican Church which was packed, said Mr McNamara.
"Joining in the service we had Lonnie Lee, who spent many years in the US and wrote for Roy Orbison.
"We also had Johnny Reb of the Rebels, Alan Dale, who set up Australia's first rock and roll band and Ian B McLeod who brought rockabilly to Australia.
"It was extraordinary to have them all at the church service," said Mr McNamara.
Meanwhile down on the concourse, as the clouds rolled away and the sun smiled through, the real business of salivating over lovingly restored vehicles of a bygone era got into full swing.
A fair bit of horse trading also went on as growing numbers of investors looked to classic cars as a solid investment which is also fun to drive.
A spotless Chev Impala convertible circa 1964 could have been yours for $45,000 and was guaranteed to turn the neighbours' heads. Or what about an '82 Corvette Stingray on the market at $85,000 negotiable?
Of course there had to be the show-off - a '30s-something Dodge ute in very original condition, especially what was left of the paintwork and a tin can under the radiator to catch the drips, exhibited by Taylor Made Motors of Murwillumbah.
Meanwhile, accommodation was at a premium, with Tweed-Coolangatta booked out and many providers charging premium Christmas rates.
"It's something we're going to have look at because it can be a bit tough for many people paying up to $400 a night," said Mr McNamara.
"We're looking at laying on shuttle buses next year to spread the accommodation load up the coast - perhaps as far as Broadbeach," he said.