I thought it would be a good idea to go over to Napier on Saturday and join in the fun of the Art Deco Festival.

My daughter and I headed there about 11am. We weren't dressed up, we just wanted to walk through the streets and look at all the people and enjoy the atmosphere.

Good idea? Well, it was a good idea until we got into Tennyson St and the traffic was at a standstill.

Uh oh, we thought. Never mind, we had the radio and air-conditioning on.

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We finally found a park and off we strolled. I've done the same thing before but not for the past couple of years.

We were both utterly amazed as we turned into Emerson St and looked up toward Marine Parade.

There was just a sea of people. All I could see were bowler hats and feathers. It was wonderful.

We walked up on to the parade, walked through the Sound Shell and on to the pathway along the beach.

The viewing platform was packed, there were people everywhere.

Beautiful dresses, hundreds of parasols, braces, cane walking sticks and hats galore. What caught my eye particularly were the hairstyles of some of the women. There were finger waves, vintage up-dos, kiss curls and bobs. They looked glamorous and stunning.

A lot of time and effort had gone into their Art Deco look.

There were also immaculately dressed chaps, but my favourite was the man with bare feet dressed in a striped bathing suit. Priceless.

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And the children - from tiny tots to teenagers - were all dressed in Deco gear, although I did see a few fairies and princesses, adding to the fun.

One thing I didn't see much of, and that was furs. It was so hot, the drink stalls were doing a roaring trade. No doubt the furs came out when the sun went down.

About 12.30pm while the vintage car parade was on, the planes arrived. I've heard a lot about these magnificent men in their flying machines, but I've never actually been in Napier when they were performing.

My goodness. You wouldn't want to have an upset tummy while you were flying these things. They went straight up and up and up, and then nosedived toward the Pacific Ocean before splitting off and flying away. I was mesmerised, as were thousands of others who craned their necks, shielded their eyes and watched as these pilots entertained them.

As we made our way back to the car, the streets were jam-packed. No wonder people come back time and time again for this festival. It's just magic and it gets bigger and better every year.

And guess what? Doesn't matter how big it gets, Auckland can't take it away from us.

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Art Deco will always belong to Hawke's Bay. Isn't that just splendid?

I imagine there will be some pretty tired people this morning. Retailers, accommodation providers and all the volunteers who help make the festival run smoothly deserve a big pat on the back. Hope you have a chance to put your feet up today.

On another subject, I asked Indulge readers how I could use up surplus cucumbers. We have two vines of apple cucumbers - one self-set from our compost that have been producing madly for weeks now. I've taken bagfuls of them to work and given them to friends and family ... and still they come.

I had an email today from Kath, who come up with a wonderful idea. She says when she has extra produce from her garden she takes it to Cranford Hospice.

What a great idea. So thanks, Kath. I'll be doing that today.

- Linda Hall is assistant editor at Hawke's Bay Today.

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