Hordes of youngsters - dressed in sportswear but in the mood for a concert - filled out Trustpower Arena for the Anchor AIMS Games opening ceremony this afternoon.
The event is set to pump about $3 million into the local economy while accommodation providers are full and food retailers are stocking up shelves in anticipation.
More than 11,500 athletes from around New Zealand and the Pacific are taking part in the six-day event.
The ceremony started out with the rich sound of the pūtātara, followed by a mana-filled performance by Tauranga Moana kapa haka group.
The young athletes were wowed by Kenyan-Kiwi rapper JessB and hip-hop troupe NZX, and received some words of wisdom from Black Ferns allrounder Chelsea Alley and Silver Ferns superstar Casey Kopua.
But while the event was in good cheer, the threat of measles was still on some people's minds.
A small number of event staff were wearing masks to protect from the illness and the ceremony included a safety message about the disease.
David Hooker, visiting from Christchurch with his 11-year-old child, said he was not worried about measles as they were both vaccinated.
Mount Maunganui residents Kelly and Kyra Ormsby said their 11-year-old daughter was also immunised and they had no concerns.
"I feel for other children who can't get vaccinated due to health issues and are vulnerable," Kyra Ormsby said.
Kelly Ormsby said: "Those [people] that can be immunised, should be immunised."
AIMS Games tournament organiser Vicki Semple said she could not comment on event staff wearing masks as she did not see people wearing any.
She said the opening ceremony was to "build hype and showcase what a massive event" the Games were.
She said it was great to have Chelsea Alley and Casey Kopua share some key messages on wellness and the highlights of their careers.
Tourism Bay of Plenty's head of destination marketing Kath Low estimated visitor spending would inject close to $3m into the economy while generating more than 50,000 visitor nights.
She said this would flow on through to benefit the wider community and businesses.
Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty regional manager Alan Sciascia said accommodation joints, cafes and restaurants were very busy catering for the athletes and their supporters.
He did not believe the measles outbreak nor the wet weather forecast would deter people from coming.
Pāpāmoa Pak'nSave store manager Glenn Macdonald said he increased his weekly banana order by a tonne to cater for the scores of athletes.
"During a rush, we'll have one person in produce and almost half their job is just filling up the banana bins," Macdonald said.
"We'll probably run out of bananas every day at some stage."
Based on last year's hot ticket items, the supermarket will bring in an extra tonne of potatoes and extra poultry.
Last year's chicken drumstick sales jumped by 3.5 tonnes during AIMS week. Butter, oranges and packets of spinach leaves were other big sellers for the store.
Papamoa Beach Resort has long since sold every bed in every room to house 129 people.
"That's a lot of sheets and a lot of toilet paper," owner Bruce Crosby said.
The town was so full that some teams stay in Rotorua or other outlying towns and commute an hour or more to games.
Many schools book into the resort a year in advance.
Caravan and campervan sites are also taken up by the players' grandparents and parents.
"Pack a brolly": Wet weather for week
MetService meteorologist Peter Little said athletes and their supporters would need to wrap up warmly and brace themselves for the elements during the start of the week as Monday and Tuesday were expected to bring more rain, chilly temperatures and possible thunderstorms.
"Packing a brolly or coat will be necessary for the first few days," he said.
The wet weather was expected to clear during Wednesday, with showers easing and temperatures reboundeing as a southwest airflow swept the front eastward.
Periods of rain, possibly heavy and thundery from the afternoon. Southeasterlies.
Rain, easing at night to a few showers. Winds tending northeasterly then dying out.
Cloudy periods, a few early showers. Southerlies developing early.
Increasing fine spells. Westerly breezes.
Increasing fine spells. Westerly breezes.