As the countdown to the 2013 New Zealand Master's Games begins in earnest, the heart of its village was raised at Springvale Park yesterday.
Subsisting on maybe six hours sleep a night for the next couple of weeks, this part of the building process is always a special time for village master Les Lunny.
As he supervised the crew raising the 14-tonne, 30m by 40m giant tent that will serve as game headquarters for those 10 glorious days in February, Lunny fondly recalls the good times had under the big top.
"When you're tired, the joy is seeing people enjoying what you've created," he said.
Among the previews written about these games, many of the arriving athletes have spoken about enjoying the social side of the action as much as the time on their sports field of choice.
And with as many as 1000 people under the canopy on any given evening, it may not be for a long time but it sure can be a fun time.
"I've been involved in Masters Games since Day One. I'm sure if this tent could talk, there'd be a lot of people running for cover," said Lunny.
While the winds and rain did not make life easy yesterday, the crew continued on with the plans to raise the main tent, followed by the exhibitors tent and the food hall alongside.
This year the village has been slightly repositioned at the park, as Lunny says "to make it more intimate so that it isn't spread out".
Those tent raisings will be completed during the weekend, following which around a dozen volunteers will spend next week adding the lights, dance floor, bar, ticket area and the petanque ground right in the middle.
Lunny said many hands will make light work.
"If there's anyone out there that feels they'd like to be involved in building the village, we'll see you 8.30am on Tuesday."