Can anyone remember what an uninterrupted Napier Art Deco Festival looks like?
After a chaotic few years, Hawke’s Bay is about to be reminded of just how big this festival is.
The Deco party is back in 2024 and a stacked programme was unveiled on Thursday night that organisers promise will deliver an unforgettable experience.
Full of vintage tours, 30s-themed debauchery and old and new events, organisers are making up for lost time after three years of Covid, then lockdowns and then a cyclone, which all either cancelled it or scaled it right back each time.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said despite the challenges of the past few years, the iconic festival remained a “steadfast fixture” of the city’s calendar.
“Let’s not let the past few years of uncertainty and dashed hopes get in the way of our anticipation of Napier’s signature event of the year,” she told the crowd at Thursday night’s launch event.
Scheduled for February 15 to 18, 2024, the festival promises events such as the Great Gatsby Party, held at Napier’s Mission Estate Winery, Art Deco Trust general manager Jeremy Smith said.
“We have curated an incredible lineup of events that offer something for everyone to enjoy.”
Events will be held in Napier, Hastings, and Central Hawkes Bay.
Smith says the annual festival will have a significant economic and social impact on the region.
“We encourage locals to invite their out-of-town friends and family to the festival. There is a growing sense of anticipation for what is sure to be an amazing week of everything Art Deco,” he said.
A new highlight could be “The Devil in a Little Green Bottle”, an immersive Art Deco experience held in the intimate Cedric’s Bar at the historic Municipal Buildings in Hastings.
Smith said guests will be able to sample absinthe cocktails and be “enchanted” by live music from the 20s and 30s.
There will also be a lineup of free public events such as the Sound Shell concert, soapbox derby, the Napier car parades, and vintage plane flyovers.
“Where else do you see vintage planes flying over a city while its streets are filled with thousands dressed in 1930s fashion, along with the ever-present sound of vintage car horns?” Wise said.
The Art Deco Festival Napier started in 1988 as an acknowledgement of the resilience and spirit of the Hawke’s Bay communities after the 1931 earthquakes.
It has since grown into one of Hawke’s Bay’s most renowned tourist draws. The festival not only showcases the region’s rich cultural heritage but also supports local businesses, artists, and performers.
- The full programme can be viewed at the Art Deco Trust’s website. Member tickets are now on sale and sales to the public will start at 12pm on October 16.