Burnout at Summernats in 2005
|Location(s)||Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), Canberra|
|Inaugurated||31 December 1987|
Summernats (a portmanteau of "Summer" and "National"), is an annual car festival held in Canberra, Australia since 1987. Summernats, which is usually held at the start of the year, is the best known car festival in Australia, and an event which attracts many tourists to Canberra, bringing in excess of $20 million in economic benefit to the ACT economy. It has increasingly been promoted as an event for families. The Summernats spectator attendance record was set in 2017 with 119,184 attendees.
Summernats features many street machines with airbrushed artwork, and restored and modified cars. It is held over a four-day period, with many events, with prizes in competitions such as for burnouts, parades of cars around the track, fireworks at night and two outdoor concerts held on Friday and Saturday nights.
Promotion and partnerships
Between 1987 and 2009, Summernats' promoter and organiser was Chic Henry. Henry sold Summernats in 2009 to a new company called Summernats Pty Ltd. The naming rights sponsor of Summernats is Street Machine magazine, and the presenting sponsor is Rare Spares.
The ACT Government has expressed its strong support of Summernats, praising the significant benefit it brings to Canberra's economy.
Many awards are given during the course of the festival.
- 2019 Rick Werner
- 2018 Grant O'Connor
- 2017 Mark Williams
- 2016 John Saad
- 2015 Nathan Borg
- 2014 Henry Parry
- 2013: Mick Fabar from Orange, New South Wales, with a 1967 Ford XR Falcon sedan;
- 2012 Ben Sargent
- 2011 Peter Fitzpatrick
- 2010 Joe Lore
- 2009 Darrell Leemhuis
- 2008 Rob Godfrey
- 2007 Zoltan Bodo from Ngunnawal, Australian Capital Territory, with a 1992 Holden VP series Senator;
- 2006 Aaron Fitzpatrick from Australian Capital Territory, with a gold 1969 Datsun 510 sedan.
- 2004 Drago Ostric
- 2003 Mark Course
- 2002 Peter Fitzpatrick
- 2001 Anthony Fabris
- 2000 Shane Burcher
- 1999 Peter Fitzpatrick
- 1998 Peter Fitzpatrick
- 1997 Howard Astill
- 1996 Peter Fitzpatrick
- 1995 Dennis Laing
- 1994 Brian Willis
- 1993 Peter Fitzpatrick
- 1992 Howard Astill
- 1991 Howard Astill
- 1990 Rob Beauchamp
- 1989 Rob Beauchamp
- 1988 Rob Beauchamp
The Grand Champion award was introduced at Summernats 6 - with Peter Fitzpatrick being the first recipient (the first of Peter's six Grand Champion awards). Prior to this the top award was; Top Street Machine Overall.
- 2005: Tanya Lazarou, from Sydney
- 2006: Bree Fenton, 19, from Sydney
- 2007: Jenelle Smith, 19, from Canberra
- 2012: Sabrina Damiano
- 2014: Danah Wheatley
- 2015: Monique Dognan-Smith
- 2016: Amanda Beattie
- 2017: Jazmyne Wardell
Show and Shine
The Summernats holds one of Australia's most prestigious Show and Shine events. Vehicles from around the nation use the Summernats to announce their arrival on the Australian scene. There are the following categories:
- Real Street, Street, Elite and Tuff Street
- Top 60 cars, Top 20 cars and Top 10 cars
- Top Judged Elite and Top Judged Street
In addition, there are some awards that are highly coveted amongst the Australian vehicle modifying community:
- Master Craftsman
- High Impact
- Artistic Impression
- People's Choice
Custom Air brushing is also celebrated at the Summernats, where an exhibition occurs in the Meguiar's Pavilion.
- Burnout Championship and Burnout Masters
- Driving events
- Heads-Up Go to Whoa
- Best Cruiser
- Horsepower Heroes
In this competition cars are bolted to a device that measures horsepower at the wheel hubs. During the course of the Summernats, many awards in different categories are handed out in the 'Dyno-cell' and power readings of over 3000hp at the wheels have been registered. 
Summernats Horsepower Heroes Results:
9 - 1996 Anthony Fabris VL Walkinshaw 325rwhp
10 - 1997 Matt Bunton HQ 454 Van 372rwph
11 - 1998 Jason Gray HSV GTS 404rwhp
12 - 1999 Jason Gray HSV GTS 486rwhp
13 - 2000 Rob Vickery VS Commodore Ute 527rwhp
14 - 2001 Todd Wilkes Giocattolo 850rwhp
15 - 2002 Rob Vickery VS Commodore Ute 1023rwhp
16 - 2003 Eddy Tassone VH Commodore 1376rwhp
17 - 2004 Brett Waine VH Commodore 1470rwhp
18 - 2005 Eddy Tassone VH Commodore 1259whp
19 - 2006 Craig Munro, TRYHRD VX HSV Clubsport 1262rwhp
20 - 2007 Trick & Mansweto, Ford Capri 940rwhp
21 - 2008 Craig Munro, TRYHRD VX HSV Clubsport 1895rwhp
22 - 2009 Lyle Lemon MRPSI, 1533rwhp
23 - 2010 Adrian Abella, FPV Typhoon 869rwhp
24 - Graham Longhurst, HZ Holden 891rwhp
25 - Jake Edwards, Torana, 1592rwhp
26 - 2013 Jake Edwards, Torana, 1666rwhp
27 - 2014 Michael Daniels, Falcon XR6 Turbo 1131rwhp
28 - 2015 Jake Edwards, 2084rwhp (qualifying)
29 - 2016 Jake Edwards, 1783rwhp
30 - 2017 Jake Edwards, 1663rwhp
Street cruises were stopped after the 2005 Summernats, following crowd control issues, however thanks to the support of the ACT Government and several years of exemplary crowd and entrant behaviour the City Cruise was re-introduced in 2014. The City Cruise is the first driving event at each Summernats and is limited to 300 entrant vehicles. 
However Summernats spokesman Chic Henry was quoted as saying "The situation could be compared to so many other situations in life where people may have been having a bit too much fun, maybe having a bit too much alcohol."
Sexual harassment of women
The festival has experienced frequent complaints and allegations of sexual harassment and other violence towards women by participants, including having a history of women being shouted at to 'take your top off', and men holding placards that read "tits out for the boys".
In 2008, a mob of up to 400 men was observed by journalists surrounding and harassing women, leading Australian Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick to comment that such conduct fosters an environment that may lead to rape. Security staff were described as "powerless" to stop the mob, although event organiser Chic Henry stated that he was happy with the performance of security.
In 2011, another mob was alleged to have occurred.
In 2017, Summernats announced its zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment. 
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