It was a time for grand and splendid old sayings.
Like "the show must go on" and "it's the spirit of the blitz".
And "I think it's your round for drinks".
It was also a fine and reflective time to consider what the folk of Hawke's Bay were confronted by 90 years ago when a shattering earthquake arrived unannounced … and left much of the landscape in ruins.
Yet even while the aftershocks kept calling, the people got on with what would be a demanding task of recovery.
"We have to get on with it … and do the best we can."
And I daresay that simplistic but stoic, and priceless, piece of Kiwi advice emerged when things looked forlorn and bleak.
"She'll be right."
And of course she was.
And so it came to pass, nine decades later, that the "official" Art Deco Festival was put on the back-burner … yet as it also came to pass, far from extinguished.
Time had begun to run out in terms of just where the land would be in terms of levels … the devilish Covid kind.
What could be staged if level 2 continued to be stamped upon the region?
The rules surrounding the restrictions were tough to combat.
It was like organising a one-day cricket international at the local grounds and then watching the waterlogged southerlies arrive (without tickets) in town.
As they did on several occasions.
In the past there have been some rain disruptions to the grand Deco fiesta, and one year I think there was a major power outage in the Napier CBD as I remember, but that "gotta get on with it" philosophy came to the fore.
But this vile global pandemic intrusion into all our lives was way out of left field.
When I heard the news the festival had effectively been cancelled I was a tad dimmed, but not surprised, because at that stage the whole level situation was still up in the air, more so upon hearing three more community cases had emerged a few days earlier.
The hard-toiling Deco management crew are not mind readers or psychics so it would have been a calculated risk to put the green light on at that stage.
As my old dad often said "you don't take risks".
So yep, I got into high-speed motorcycling.
Dad often sighed a lot back then too.
I felt for the Deco drivers when the news did emerge that we could return to level 1 … came down to timing.
However, I just knew that the word "cancellation" was just that … a word.
I knew the dapper crappies and the Deco dames would don the smart attire of that annually celebrated era.
And I knew the vintage car folk would polish up the crank handles and hooks.
And the musical crews would tune their wonderfully warbling accessories and take them to the streets and stages.
Visitors arrived in town and the Defence Forces also gathered to ensure the festival would flourish, as best it could.
A couple of Tiger Moths buzzed overhead and I thought I saw a dark green Harvard pass over at some stage.
There was dancing, fashion and music.
No major official events of course but the people all gathered under that banner I noted earlier … the show must go on.
It was a delight to see, and a delight for the Art Deco team whose disappointment would have been well tempered by it all.
Oh yeah, and the weather played ball.
Well, nothing really.
As a long-standing resident of these parts, and having covered a dozen of them during my reporting years, I just stood back and applauded all those who danced and dined and doodled about in their grand automobiles and who all chorused "she'll be right".