Having never immersed myself in Deco before I was twice taken aback.

Firstly I was stunned at how glorious it was - and secondly I was transported back about 90 years.

On Friday evening with my four girls in tow we donned the appropriate garb and sat with friends amid hundreds of other families in the grassy stretch between the Sound Shell and Napier's Conference Centre.

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In all sorts of ways it boasted many of the elements of Peter Jackson's film King Kong set in the 1933 Great Depression.

For starters a ship's fog horn was heard, a steam engine chugged alongside vintage cars and, of course, there was of sea of yesteryear's hats.

War planes buzzing overhead nearly completed Friday night's King Kong picture - all that was missing was an ape battling biplanes from atop the Dome.

Then there were the kids climbing pohutukawa, couples dancing in the sun and the viewing platform and adjacent beachside full of smiles.

The wine assisted, of course, but it was a bonhomie I'd never before witnessed.

Staring out to sea I wondered if perhaps next year a frigate or the like could be moored not too far off the Sound Shell surf. That'd complement the package nicely.

The day before I was stuck for 10 minutes behind a string of vintage vehicles ambling at 60km/h or so in an 100km/h zone.

Perhaps that's the allure. In an ever-accelerating world this unique celebration forces you back, and slows you down.

Such is the uplifting and mysterious (yet intended) effect of Art Deco.