Photos: Visitors enjoy biggest OhSoRetro show to date

OhSoRetro Photo Frank Leppard

This year’s OhSoRetro show in Palm Bay proved to be the biggest in the event’s nine year history.

The retro and vintage vehicle event, which also included stalls, music and entertainment, had “more cars, more bikes and more people” than ever, said organiser Lee Collier.

Photo Carl Hudson

He said: “This year I think we really pushed it up another level. A big thank you must go to my marshals, my volunteers, my friends. They worked tirelessly all weekend.”

Visitors at yesterday’s (September 25) event enjoyed more than 1,500 classic and retro vehicles on show as well as 50 club stands and some 20 show and shine awards plus trade and autojumble, live music and entertainment.

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Since it was first launched in 2014 by VW enthusiast Lee Collier the show has grown in strength, attracting thousands of people to view the vehicles and enjoy the family fun.


  1. It was a fantastic day and great thanks to Lee and his team for organising so well. Many incredible cars ( including ours!) and the SUN shone. After a very wet night the whole day could not have been better. Thanks Lee

  2. Amazing how the council will use this field for motor freaks but not for day trippers who for the last 5 years have snarled up residential roads around the Botany Bay in the summer causing total chaos. Couldn’t organise an afternoon drink in a brewery. Could charge minimum £10 per car, do the maths. TDC…. Totally Dozy Clots or similar.

    • The only involvement TDC have in this event (or any event in Thanet as far as I know) is that they hire the land to the organiser.
      If you think a car park would work there why don’t you go through with the relevant paperwork, insurances, risk assessments etc etc and run it yourself? Or you know actually contact the council themselves?
      Posting such a negative comment in response to an event that has absolutely nothing to do with TDC seems a bit sad? When your only gripe is the council itself?

      Lee OhSoRetro Events organiser.

  3. I prefer the term Petrol Heads rather than motor freaks . Once a year this show comes to town and brings money into the local areas ie. Shops b&b cafes pubs arcades because many stay overnight . It’s a very well organised event . So you have a home near the seaside and moan about people visiting the beach where you choose to live . Hmmm … You are the same sort of person who moves next to an airport then protests to stop the planes. It’s a once a year event …. Get a life …. Snowflake

    • Err, no it doesn’t bring money to the local area as, with the exception of the Palm Bay Cafe that can accommodate 30ish people there are no shops, bars, cafes or any other types of retailers within reasonable walking distance. This show isn’t run by locals for locals, it is run by people that live miles away and caters for people that live miles away which is why the area is completely swamped with cars when the show is on. The only local entity that benefits is TDC!

      • David, I am Lee the organiser. I live, work and volunteer in Margate and have done my entire life.
        Many local business and organisations benefit from the event.
        Many local business trade at the event, hotels, camp sites, restaurants, bars, visitor attractions all benefit as lots of the attendees stay local to the weekend and longer.
        Everything that is used to put the event together is local, fencing hire companies, insurance companies, toilet hire, waste disposal, marquee hire, ambulance cover etc are all local companies based in south east kent.
        Around 70% of the classic cars are from Kent and about 80% of the public attending are from Thanet.
        We also fundraise on the day for local charities and organisations. This year giving over £2,500 to 3 thanet based charities.
        The only involvement TDC have and have in any event is renting the land and ensuring that the event is carried out safely. That is the only benefit they have.

        Your comment is frankly ridiculous and shows how little you know about the event, if you are going to post something publicly at least spend 30 seconds investigating your claims.



        • Thanks Lee, as you criticised my’lack of research’ I presume that you have the data to back up your statements? For example a graph showing hotel occupation in Thanet over the year with an enormous spike in it the day before your event? Or testimonials from local bars, restaurants and cafes thanking you for the show and how it has given their business a much needed boost? Would you care to share them?

          I would be very interested to know what lead you to select the particular venue for the show? There seem to be far better suited locations on the island than the grass next to Palm Bay Primary School. For example Manston has acres of space with hardly any houses around there. It also has a runway which could be used for dynamic exhibitions not just static ones and it has much better transport links.

          The headline in the news article says that this is your biggest show ever, perhaps it has out grown its current venue and should be looking for new locations to host this larger event?

          It is good that you have spare cash to give to local charities, I see that you were charging people to park on the grass this year. How about using some of the money that you make from this to control vehicle parking in the vicinity. As you are a local I presume that you remember the air shows that we used to have here. They had a very good system to control traffic, they gave us residents permits and posted marshalls on our streets to prevent visitors from parking there. I guess that this would also increase your revenue as people would be forced to pay for your parking.

          • Ahh so we get to the real point of your problem with the event. It’s near to your house. Every year we give out free tickets to those in the local vicinity of the event and we get a lot of good feedback from local residents not only via email but in person. I take all feedback on board, if it’s constructive and not hidden behind a random comment on a news article.
            Yes I do have data to back up my statements, as I have all the data of those who booked to attend the event.
            A graph showing a massive spike? At no point did I say a massive spike on one weekend, but being local yes local businesses have thanked me for the extra business no matter how small that they gained.
            Why did I chose the location? Because I love Margate and it shows our beautiful coast and town and it has decent and direct road access.
            Manston if you haven’t noticed is privately owned and is being turned back into an airport and hasn’t for many years been used for events. So these feels a silly suggestion? Apart from the fact it’s a large open space.
            Yes we had a great turn out this year as the article says helped by the weather, perhaps it has outgrown the venue? Perhaps it hasn’t. Surely that is down to the organiser to decide as I would know the event best. Just because the turn out was the largest doesn’t mean it has outgrown the venue?
            The parking on the Palm Bay green was a £2 donation run by the staff and students at Broadstairs college and all proceeds from that went straight to purchasing two bell tents for Broadstairs College’s nurture department.
            I don’t think my event is anywhere near the scale of the air show, which I am guessing you remember better than me as I was only a child when it was last held at Palm Bay.
            David if you wish to chat about this face to face or over the phone feel free to contact me, I’m not hard to get hold of before, during or after the event. Feel free to call or email me at any point.
            Comments like this really show me why so few events now happen on the isle when small minded individuals who have nothing better to do than moan on the internet about one small day of disruption near their home. I’m not sat at home counting my gold I’m out working my other 3 jobs, I’m an enthusiast who loves where he lives and tries his best to contribute towards good in the local area.
            Next years event is Sunday 24th September, maybe you’ll attend next year and see the joy and good it brings to the local area and many people.
            But I assume you’ll just wait till after the event to moan on the internet about an event you’ve never attended.


      • Furthermore if you were local and supported local businesses you would know that you have been unable to dine inside the Palm Bay Cafe for around 2 years and they now only offer a take away service.

        Keep shopping local,


        • Hi Lee

          Wherever possible we do try to shop locally and love the shops that are popping up particularly on Northdown Road, it is lovely to see it re-born. I am sure that you are too young to remember the grim times when the high streets were largely boarded up, it was very sad. We too love Margate and are not nimbies, if events are suitably well managed then we are very happy to have them… as I mentioned about the airshow, but we have also been to lots of the events that are held on the main sands and on Marine Drive over the years. We are regularly at Dreamland and used to go to the Wintergardens often when they were open. I have replied to this thread as there is not an option to reply to the thread that you posted on.

          So, Manston is in private hands (it is not going to be an airport again any time soon I am sorry to say as a new appeal has just been lodged), I would imagine that the owners of this largely derelict site could do with a cash injection from a meanwhile use for it. They might even want to have it there so that they can use the publicity to bolster their cause to have the land use operational again. Have you approached them at all?

          If Manston is off the cards and you love Margate so much they why not hold it even more off season (mid November) and in the Dreamland car park which would definately ensure that local businesses would benefit and would do a better job of showing off our wonderful town as it is right in the town centre. It would bring in revenue at a time when it is even more needed. Plus people would be able to walk to the local hospitality facilities rather than driving to them.

          I presume that you have risk assessed that your event is currently held on grass at the end of the summer when the grass is very dry and you have addressed the risk that someone’s red hot (having driven from London) catalytic converter could set fire to the grass beneath the car? I also presume that you have checked with your ‘local’ insurance company that this risk is covered by their policy? I guess that you know that Dreamland has a tarmac car park so this risk wouldn’t exist.

          If you are still unwilling to find a suitable alternative location then please, please, please can you initiate measures to control the traffic at your event such that it is managed properly and doesn’t cause a nuisance to the local residents, nor block the access for the emergency services. I am very willing to meet up with you to discuss how your event can be modified so that it doesn’t blight our area every year but I feel that I shouldn’t have to, you should just ensure that it is well managed as part of your duties as event organiser.

          I take offence to your statement about me being a small minded individual sitting at home counting my gold, I too work very hard for a living and would be grateful if you can apologise for that remark please. I have not offered any personal insult to you so query why you think you are justified to do that to me.

      • I dont live miles away, im in thanet like a lot of others, a lot of people from kent. They put on great events throughout the year, stoo being a kiljoy, its once a year

        • I don’t object to the event, I just object to where it is being held, there are far more suitable location on the island. If people come and stay here and eat locally that they can do that just as well if it is held somewhere else.

      • Hi David,
        My name is Catryn. I live in Thanet, and earlier this year I ran a local dress drive to provide dresses & suits to young people in Thanet who might not be able to afford to go to their school prom because they couldn’t afford an outfit.
        Without the generosity of Lee- organiser of Oh So Retro – we would not have been able to go ahead. He kindly lent me some of the clothes rails he uses for his events.
        Sadly after the event the rails were stolen from my garden. Not only was he so kind and understanding he was really helpful and so patient while I raised money to fund replacements.
        When I could replace the rails I had them delivered to him LOCALLY at his LOCAL address, because he is…y’know… LOCAL.

        • Thanks Catryn

          I am sorry that your rails were stolen and also sorry that you had to pay for replacements out of money that you had raised for your charity, that is very sad.

          As a local to the event, (I presume that you mean Cliftonville or Palm Bay) I guess you have seen the impact that the event has on the local streets over the years. While the parking situation was less bad this year than in previous years due to the use of the public grass area as a paid car park, our road still got clogged up with people who didn’t want to pay to park. The majority of people that live on my street are elderley and if one of them needed an ambulance to take them to hospital then they would have needed to wait until after the show because it would not have been possible to get an ambulance down our street while the event was on.

          While I am on the subject of event parking on our street, during the show I noticed someone bending down to inspect the rear of there car that they had parked opposite my house. When they drove off I realised that they hadn’t been inspecting their car, they had been having a dump. If this had happened 5 years ago then I wold have been completely horrified but as things stand now this is normal human behaviour for us. This area is completely unsuitable for hosting large numbers of people it doesn’t have the parking or toilet facilities. I think it was snowflake that said if we live by a beach we should suck it up…. well if we go back more than 5 years we didn’t have to. The place was idyllic, the local beaches were only used by locals so weren’t very busy and most people walked there. Then our local beach was widely advertised across London and the Southeast with a beautiful photograph showing it as a wonderful completely empty beach, and since then it has been hell on earth all summer… and just when you breath a sigh of releaf as autumn comes, we have this show to rub a bit more salt into our wounds.

          The show should be held somewhere else, and if our beaches are to accommodate the numbers of people that they currently get thne TDC need to build the facilities to accommodate them or find a way of stopping the large numbers of people coming to them.

          • David I feel like you are desperately clutching at straws and making things up to suit your narrative rather than straight up apologise. You mention parking on yours and surrounding roads. If it has got that bad then why don’t you and other residents approach the council and ask for permit only parking, not that it will stop people parking without permits, unfortunately you can legally park on pretty much most roads… vehicle excise duty and all that… its also quite convenient that you “saw someone bending over to inspect their bumper” then there was a “dump” there. Lee hires portaloo’s as well so maybe the two weren’t connected… or a complete fabrication (I’m going for the latter).
            If you’re that upset about it then contact the council.

          • Thanks Nathen

            That sounds rather like you are calling me a liar then, and I am not sure why you want me to apologise for, care to clarify? I did not capture any images of the event but it did happen. If you would like we can meet up and I can show you our local WattsApp thread that has lots of images and videos of visitors using our hedges and gardens as their toilet. Personally I feel quite sorry for them as they must be quite desperate to have to resort to doing this. Maybe this chap had been to the show, maybe he hadn’t, perhaps he didn’t like the condition of the thunder boxes provided at the event, who knows.

            Thankfully these photos and videos only make up a very small proportion of our WattsApp content, the vast majority is associated with organising charity events to raise funding for local initiatives (when I say local I mean within a mile or so of here and not what others call local). We use the funds generated from this to look after our green areas that the council have stopped tending. We are indeavouring to dramatically increase the amount of biodiversity in our community. Hot topic today is that one of these initiatives has some spare plants and are offering them to other initiatives. The WattsApp is also used to co-ordinate our litter picking and beach clean up operations that are also carried out by local residents. If you are local, would you like to become involved?

            We have contacted the local council about this anti social behaviour many times (and also the problems cuased by visitors causing obstructions when they park their cars) but their approach is the very similar to the approach of the organiser of this event; ignore them or belittle them, make the complainants feel small and mealy mouthed.

            We don’t want permit parking as that needs to me managed by TDC, will add to bureaucracy and increase our Council Tax. I suspect it probably wouldn’t work either as it wouldn’t get policed. What would actually be nice would be for the organiser of this event to acknowledge that he has a duty to the community that his event is held in to be a good neighbour by managing his event in such a way that it doesn’t cause nuisance. Is that too much to ask?

      • I attended this event from dartford Kent I stopped at a local cafe in birchington and brought some snacks from a off-licence on the way and then had a beer on way home so me coming down brought money to Thanet the show was great Lee does a great job of bringing money in

        • Good on you Sam a boost to the local economy, just what we need, thanks! The next time you are here, perhaps you could hang around after the event and join one of our teams of local residents that go around picking up the litter that visitors leave behind because our local council are either unwilling or unable to do it.

          • Litter that is completely unrelated to the event David, as I have a team of 30 volunteers and litter is picked all day on the event site.
            I even personally inspect the event site on the Monday after the event and it is always MUCH cleaner than when we arrive.
            Your gripes sound very much with the council, not with the event. I suggest you contact TDC.

          • Oh do stop moaning, David.

            A young person, committed to the local community (not just with this, but all year round), having a huge positive impact and supporting local businesses. A bunch of young, enthusiastic volunteers helping him. It’s a great advert for the area. It’s exactly what Thanet needs.

            Please stop complaining about things that are nothing to do with the show – you’re making local people look mean, petty, and unpleasant. And making yourself look daft.

  4. Perhaps next year a bit more towards advertising this event, I would’ve loved to visit and enjoy this event only just read about it a few days to late unfortunately

    • I read about it here, and in various Facebook groups, and saw it on Twitter, and saw posters up. And, as it was still very busy when we arrived (quite late in the day), I think the publicity did the job.

  5. This event definitely benefits the local economy.
    My second year of attending and there was very little accommodation available on the Saturday night, with most hotels full booked. So we stayed with friends Saturday and Sunday nights. Money was spent throughout the weekend on food, drink and general purchases across Margate and Westgate mostly in independent businesses where possible.
    It’s once a year, a very nice friendly event. The bulk of the traffic is in two short time slots as cars showing at the event cannot be moved during the day.
    A lot of the criticism seems to be from a very small subset of people, I’d suggest the benefits outweigh the issues (mostly unrelated to the event!) – But if you dislike a one day event that much you could always swap with me and have a day out in London 🙂

    • Thanks Paul for your kind offer, and thankyou for spending money in the local community. My issue is not about the event per se but rather where it is held, in a residential area that has no amenities that are within reasonable walking distance.

      I still believe that there are better venues on the island but if you follow the chat it seems that the organiser is unwilling to entertain them for some reason. So my request in that instance, and I believe it to be a reasonable one, is for the organiser to manage the event such that it doesn’t cause nuisance to the residents in the surrounding area.

      I am firmly of the opinion that this is not too much to ask, but moreover I think that it is a duty for the organiser to achieve this, but they are of a different view. You say that you live in London and I suspect that, because of this, you may have more of an understanding of and even some sympathy for what happens when the event is on. People park in front of our drives so we cannot use our cars if we wanted to. The parked cars of the showgoers congest the roads such that it is not possible to get emergency vehicles down them. Is it such an unconsionable request to ask the organisers of the event to take measures to prevent this from happening?

      Sadly it is not just this one day event that introduces this particular problem to the area.

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