Deco magic shines through rain clouds
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.’’
Napier’s Pipe Band parade’s through the central city on the wet Saturday morning.