Whanganui's biggest party is coming up this weekend and there is so much on it will be hard to choose where to be.

The first thing to decide is what you are going to wear. It can be any costume from the past, from any era you love, right up to the 1990s.

Vintage Weekend begins on Friday with a musical cruise on the PS Waimarie and ends on Monday with the Julian Temple Band at Lucky Bar. In between there is a ball, an outdoor meal, a movie, music, markets and much else.

Most of all this activity is free and outdoors in the central city. At least 20,000 people are expected to take part.

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Parts of Victoria Ave and Ridgway St will be closed to vehicles on Saturday, with bands playing through the afternoon and into the evening - until The Rocky Horror Picture Show is screened outdoors at 10pm.

As it was last year, the music will all be from local bands. There's Awa (with taonga puoro - traditional Māori instruments), Hot Potato (skiffle, acoustic rockabilly), Wildcard (1980s), The Blue Veinz (rhythm and blues) and more.

In the evening people will be dining al fresco and being entertained in Majestic Square. They get a two course meal, from Mint Cafe, with entertainment from Rick Baum's jazz band and Chris McKenzie's acting troupe.

Not long after that others will walk in and be dazzled at the Dazzle Ball at the racecourse. It's put on by The Metropolitan Club, with costumes judged by Whanganui fashion designer Kerry Ranginui.

Victoria Ave will be full of lovingly tended vintage cars on Saturday. Photo file / Paul Brooks
Victoria Ave will be full of lovingly tended vintage cars on Saturday. Photo file / Paul Brooks

Vintage vehicles will line up to be admired, then take part in a rally and a run. Whanganui's steam punk group will put on a fashion parade and a teapot race - with no hot water involved.

John Archbold painted a traction engine giving people rides during Vintage Weekend in 2016. Photo / supplied
John Archbold painted a traction engine giving people rides during Vintage Weekend in 2016. Photo / supplied

A traction engine will give rides, but Air Chathams' DC3 needs maintenance and is unable to attend this year. People who have bought tickets will be refunded.

There will be shopping galore - a retro market with extra stalls by the river on Saturday morning, and a Vintage Fair in the former Farmers Homeware building in Victoria Ave on Saturday and Sunday.

Plumber Dan's Raft Race on Monday will be preceded by old-time games for children on the riverside.

As well as all this, there will be glass blowing, heritage bus tours, steam train rides, food stalls, face painting and a high tea.

The weekend is funded by $30,000 from Whanganui & Partners, Whanganui's economic development entity, and by sponsors.

It has been publicised by brochures distributed across the North Island, as well as by a Facebook page and website.

It's organised by the Whanganui Vintage Weekend Trust, with Heather Cox as overall event manager in her first year, and Mainstreet Whanganui in charge of Saturday's Caboodle.