Deco magic shines through rain clouds

The Napier Mail - - FRONT PAGE - ME­GAN HUNT

Napier’s largest party of the year danced on, de­spite rain damp­en­ing one of its largest days.

Um­brel­las were out in force on Sun­day on the fi­nal day of the an­nual five-day Art Deco Fes­ti­val, which trans­ports the city back to the 1920s and 30s, re­flect­ing Napier’s unique ar­chi­tec­ture con­structed af­ter the 1931 earthquake.

Nor­mally the fes­ti­val is held in swel­ter­ing tem­per­a­tures with long sun-soaked days, but not this year.

Be­fore the fes­ti­val be­gan grey clouds rolled in, bring­ing show­ers un­til early on Sun­day.

De­spite rain on Satur­day, visi­tors to the pub­lic mu­sic and dance events in the city cen­tre were well at­tended, with crowds shel­ter­ing un­der a sea of um­brel­las.

Deb Web­ster, visit­ing the fes­ti­val for the first time with a group of old high school friends, said they were hav­ing a great day.

‘‘It’s fab­u­lous, great at­mos­phere. I want to bring other peo­ple back next year.’’

By Sun­day morn­ing Ten­nyson St, also the track for the fes­ti­val’s soap box derby, was dry enough for rac­ing to be­gin.

Crowds lined the foot­paths to watch par­ents push kids in the grav­ity pow­ered carts.

For Zack White, 10, it was the high­light of the event. He was rac­ing a Gemco cart, pushed by his fa­ther Julz.

‘‘Dad has to push me un­til he gets to a line, then he lets go of me and I just have to keep the car straight and not use the brakes un­til I’m across the fin­ish line,’’ Zach said.

‘‘[The first race] was scary.’’ Grass along Ma­rine Pa­rade also dried in time for the Gatsby Pic­nic, the an­nual Sun­day af­ter­noon tea.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic cre­ate high tea set­tings - some are simpy blan­kets and chairs, while oth­ers are elab­o­rate themed de­signs with gaze­bos, fine china and scones with lash­ings of cream.

Napier Mayor Bill Dal­ton said it was heart­en­ing to see that no mat­ter the weather, art deco lovers from near and far en­joyed the week­end.

‘‘As a car man, the high­light for me was the 25 Bent­leys we had here from Eng­land, many of which were open topped,’’ he said.

‘‘Dur­ing the pa­rade and de­spite the rain, you just could not wipe the smiles off their driv­ers’ faces.’’

ME­GAN HUNT

Napier’s Pipe Band pa­rade’s through the cen­tral city on the wet Satur­day morn­ing.

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