The enthusiasm with which Napier and participants embraces the annual Art Deco Festival has to be seen to be, perhaps not believed, but appreciated.
As someone who has heard about it, experiencing aspects of the Art Deco week has brought home to me its uniqueness. Which really, is only a reflection of how unique the city that hosts it is. And of course its people.
Napier’s Art Deco infusion was a gift, a taonga that arose from the tragedy of the 1931 earthquake. The Art Deco movement, its architecture and fashion style, is truly celebrated.
Art Deco Trust acting general manager Vicky Rope observed this weekend that seven cruise ships visited during the week long celebration.
“For them it was jaw-dropping,” Rope said. “We had to explain to a lot of people that we don’t do this all of the time.”
Now that would be something.
The Art Deco Trust and Napier City Council will have a satisfying debrief in front of them.
There will be things that worked, things that didn’t and conundrums to consider.
Napier is not built to handle 20,0000-plus people easily – this was easily the temporary population of the CBD on Saturday during the festival’s parade.
What a great problem to have though – how many other regional New Zealand cities can boast of an event like this, and a cultural event at that.
It’s also an event that encourages people to put aside their inhibitions, and have a go, dress up. Walking through Napier in dressed in art deco style, it felt like you were part of a club, of something much bigger.