Massive crowds encircled Maitland train station to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Maitland Toyota Hunter Valley Steamfest over the weekend.
Maitland City Council event co-ordinator Adam Franks said early estimates put the crowd at around 80,000 people across the two days, making it one of the biggest Steamfests in years.
“[Saturday] was a fantastic day,” he said.
“And [Sunday] was massive.
“It’s certainty the biggest in recent memory.”
Mr Franks said he put the success down to the grandeur of the steam engines, the expanded program aimed at celebrating the 30th anniversary and, of course, the Great Train Race.
“We’ve expanded the attractions at the Rally Ground, there’s more sights,” he said.
“One of the main draw cards is the four steam engines, including the largest in the Southern Hemisphere [the Garratt 6029].
“The [good] weather brought a lot of people out.
“It certainly was unseasonable but we’ll take it.”
He said the Great Train Race was the highlight of the 30th anniversary celebration.
“It certainly brought in a massive influx to the city,” he said.
Crowds of people lined kilometres of track through Maitland to watch the historic race between four tiger moths and four steam locomotives.
Thousands of people also spilled into Maitland Park to pour over the immaculate chrome of 400 muscle cars on display as part of Steamfest.
Mr Franks said that while Steamfest has long been held in good stead nationally and internationally, the 30th anniversary event cemented its position.
“There’s over 100 volunteers and hundreds of community members that make it happen every year,” he said.
“The community really gets behind it.”
Mr Franks said it was the fascination with the iconic locomotives that kept Steamfest an enduring favourite.
“The machines are unreal,” he said.
“It appeals to all ages, kids, families, grandparents.”
The Mercury has been at the Maitland Toyota Hunter Valley Steamfest throughout the weekend to catch all the action from the event’s 30th anniversary.