Napier fills up for art deco bash

The Napier Mail - - FRONT PAGE - SI­MON HENDERY

Just days out from the start of this year’s art deco fes­ti­val, Napier had hung out the no va­cancy sign as the city braced for its an­nual in­flux of vis­i­tors.

The five-day fes­ti­val which starts to­day is dubbed as an event that sees Napier ‘‘trans­ported back to the art deco era of the 1920s and 30s, cel­e­brat­ing our unique her­itage, as well as the fash­ion, mu­sic, art, cars, planes, trains and in­cred­i­ble charm that made the art deco era so spe­cial’’.

Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser Glen Pick­er­ing said it was look­ing like a ‘‘mas­sive year’’ with 86 per cent of tick­ets avail­able for the var­i­ous events sold by late last week, well ahead of sales at the same time last year.

About 12,000 peo­ple were ex­pected at the tick­eted events, while the en­tire event at­tracted about 40,000 vis­i­tors to Hawke’s Bay.

Vir­tu­ally all avail­able ac­com­mo­da­tion for the week­end had been snapped up for some time, with many vis­i­tors book­ing their 2017 stay di­rectly after at­tend­ing last year’s event, Pick­er­ing said.

While he was keep­ing a close watch on the week­end’s weather fore­cast, Pick­er­ing was con­fi­dent the con­di­tions would not let the event down. ’’Tra­di­tion­ally the weather has been fan­tas­tic for the fes­ti­val. We def­i­nitely know that at least two out of the five days will be amaz­ing.’’

New events in­cluded a cabaret trib­ute to mu­sic leg­end Cole Porter by in­ter­na­tional per­former Michael Grif­fiths at the MTG Cen- tury Theatre and per­for­mances of the opera Car­men at the Mu­nic­i­pal Theatre. The New Zealand Male Choir would also per­form at the Cen­tury Theatre.

The fes­ti­val’s many reg­u­lar free events were re­turn­ing, in­clud­ing the soap box derby, vin­tage car pa­rade and vin­tage aero­plane aerial dis­plays.

‘‘What this fes­ti­val does for Hawke’s Bay – for tourism and for the com­mu­nity – makes it the pre­mium event for the re­gion,’’ Pick­er­ing said.

‘‘The key to it is that it’s our her­itage. It’s our fes­ti­val and it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing.’’

PHOTO: EVA BRADLEY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

The fes­ti­val at­tracts about 40,000 vis­i­tors to Hawke’s Bay and ac­com­mo­da­tion is sold out.

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