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Hawke's Bay Tourism

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Napier Mayor Bill Dalton, wife Shirley and Art Deco Trust general manager Sally Jackson (right) after the mayor formally opened the 2016 Tremains Art Deco Festival.

Sequins, feathers, fascinators, fedoras, cravats and vintage cars were everywhere as Napier's biggest party - the 2016 Tremains Art Deco Festival - formally got underway last night.

Thousands of people crammed into the Soundshell, lined Marine Pde, relaxed on the lawns, and perched themselves on the city’s viewing platform last night for the festival’s official public opening.

After initial introductions from well-known Art Deco personality ‘Bertie’, first on stage was Simon Tremain,managing director of major festival sponsors, Tremains Real Estate.

The sponsorship of the festival was a ‘good fit’ for his company, “but it’s certainly not about us,” he said.

“It’s about the people of Napier, the people of Hawke’s Bay, the children, and just how much this weekend and our festival has been embraced by everybody,” he said.

Kathy Hill, chairwoman of the Art Deco Trust, thanked the festival’s sponsors, volunteers and the Napier City Council for their support before mayor Bill Dalton took to the stage to welcome the crowd to “Napier’s biggest weekend of the year.”

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Those off to the Depression Dinner last night still managed a laugh.

“Once again the city’s turned it on, the weather’s been pretty good and the forecast for [Saturday] is even better. We’ve got a great atmosphere and a wonderful lot of people embracing the art deco festival. 

"Have a great weekend, and enjoy the show that our city puts on,” said Dalton, who then had the “great pleasure” of declaring the 2016 festival formally open, which was met by wide applause and  a series of three ‘hip-hip-hoorays’ from the crowd, led by Bertie.

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The end of the speeches signalled the start of the night’s entertainment, including the first aerobatic show from the Warbirds display team, which arrived early at 7.30pm.

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After the aerobatics many revellers departed to attend ticketed events such as the Beach Banquet, Shanghai Nights and the Prohibition Party, while thousands more stayed at the Soundshell  to dance to the big brass band, or parked up with picnics on the Marine Pde lawns.

One of those was Margaret McMahon, who with husband John had come from Dundalk in County Louth, Ireland, to visit family in Napier.

She was pleased her trip had coincided with the festival so she could get her first experience of Deco.

 “I’m very impressed. I've never been to a party quite like it," she beamed.

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From left, Gavin McMahon, of Napier, with daughter Rose, 2, his parents Margaret and John McMahon, who are visiting from Dundalk in County Louth, Ireland, and younger brother Paul McMahon, also of Napier.

Among the highlights of the festival on today will be another aerobatics display at 12.15pm before the start of the Grand Parade on Marine Pde at 12.30pm which will feature up to 250 vintage pre-1946 cars. 

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