Just before noon yesterday Art Deco Trust event manager Peter Mooney returned to his office after sorting another job out and said "you can sense it's all starting to happen out there now."
The steam traction engine had begun taking delighted passengers on trips through the city, vintage cars were beginning to outnumber their modern-day equivalents, as were the number of people dressed in pinstripes, boaters, beads and boas who began to fill the streets.
The Tremain Art Deco Weekend of 2014 kicked off under blue skies and warm breezes, with the event's official ambassador singer/ actor/dancer, Shane Cortese, getting an equally warm welcome when he arrived for the Opening Soiree in the MTG Hawke's Bay foyer.
Fittingly, he arrived in a dazzling vintage car.
He joined local council and business leaders, the main sponsors, all branches of the military service and visiting representatives of the British, American, Canadian and Australian consulates and embassies.
The assembled guests moved into the Century Theatre at 6.30pm for the welcoming speeches and a colourful and deco-inspired dance performance by local young dancers.
Mayor Bill Dalton made his way
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2014 across to the Sound Shell stage at 7.20pm for the event's public opening ceremony which was followed by the Navy Band playing the military 'Beat the Retreat'.
Offshore, the HMNZS Hawea, one of the navy's inshore patrol boats and skippered by Napier born Lieutenant Grant Bicknell, did a run along the shoreline and was the target of a "beat-up" by three of the visiting classic aircraft - a Spitfire, Mustang and Curtiss Kittyhawk.
They were joined around 7.30 by the Harvard aerobatic display team from the Auckland-based Warbirds Association.
Large crowds gathered along the Marine Parade seafront, especially around the Sound Shell area, to watch the displays.
Mr Mooney said ticket sales had initially been simply steady but over the past days had stepped up.
"Almost all the major events of the weekend are sold out now," he said.
"But there are still a few going here and there."
The trust is expecting about 35,000 to head into the city to take part in the events - many of them free to the public.
A crowd of more than 10,000 is expected to line Emerson St for today's Automobilia Vintage Car Parade which will feature about 250 cars as well as vintage motorcycles.
The parade will have a strong military feel as this year's event coincides with the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1 and 75 years since the start of WW2.
There has also been a strong link between the region and the navy in the wake of that service's crucial initial response to the earthquake recovery work back in 1931.