Fairground attractions giant Mahons Amusements is more than ready for the flood of Hawke's Bay joyriders as the Royal A and P Show of New Zealand kicks into action in Hastings today.
The Ngaruawahia troupe will operate two new rides, including the Black Pearl Pirates of the Pacific, the latest take on the haunted house concept which has been a staple of the Ngaruawahia company's operation for much of the more than three decades it has been coming to the Hawke's Bay Show.
It was designed by company boss John Mahon and built in New Zealand during the off-season, with concepts and components from the home of what is regarded as a $40b industry at the International Association of Amusement Park Attractions in the US.
It was an immediate success as the Poverty Bay A and P Show opened the show circuit in the lower and central North Island last week and is expected to be an even more popular attraction today, tomorrow and on Friday's public holiday People's Day, during which show attendance is expected to total about 30,000.
Much depends on the weather, which has been notoriously changeable during show week, which has been held in the lead-up to Labour Weekend in October for much of the time since the first event was held in 1863.
MetService was yesterday predicting a fine opening day, with high cloud and some northwest breezes, with a deterioration tomorrow to bring some raid, with an ominous "Rain, heavy falls. Southerlies developing" for the big day on Friday.
Mr Mahon's son, CJ, and cousin Paul are used to rolling with whatever the climate throws at them, as there are more than 200 trade exhibitors and organisers of outdoor events such as the equestrian sports, cattle and other animal showing, woodchopping, sheep dog trials and general entertainment.
There are major agricultural attractions throughout, including the launch of the Hawke's Bay Primary Industry Awards, to be attended by Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy.
The rides are among 17 brought to Hastings in a huge fleet of vehicles, along with 20 other games amusements, which between them will have up to 100 staff during the show.
For A and P Society and Showgrounds HB general manager Brent Linn it's game-on, despite the weather predictions. "I don't look at the forecast," he said. "I can't do anything about it."