Art Deco Weekend preparations under way

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2013
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EVA BRADLEY/Fairfax NZ

DECO DIZZY: When asked by customers what they should wear to Napier’s art deco events, Jessica Hatton says she just gives a little twirl and responds, 'you should look like me'.

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A string of pearls, a fur stole and elbow-length gloves are all necessary parts of the job for Jessica Hatton.

Working behind the scenes of the Geon Art Deco weekend does not stop the 19-year-old bringing a little 1930s glamour to the office.

Each morning she selects a shift dress, teaming it with pearls or a scarf and a touch of red lipstick, before heading to her administration job at the Art Deco Trust.

"I have to make sure I get up especially early just to make sure I'm looking tip-top."

The extra effort gives customers a talking point, she says. "If someone asks me, ‘what should I wear?' I'll just do a little twirl and say, ‘you should look like me.' "

Miss Hatton has sold almost 10,000 tickets to more than 200 events leading up to the 25th Art Deco weekend, which officially opens tomorrow.

The annual event, which pulls in from 25,000 to 30,000 visitors, was born from a group of people wanting to preserve and celebrate the city's heritage.

This year visitors can tuck into a beach banquet, watch families race in the soapbox derby or dance to bands playing at the sound shell.

Art Deco Trust general manager Sally Jackson said a Hispano-Suiza once owned by the last shah of Persia would join more than 230 vehicles in the vintage car parade on Saturday. It was given to Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who reigned from 1941 to 1979.

Mrs Jackson said the three-day celebration was a huge undertaking, with at least 10,000 people to cater for, through various events including the bubbly breakfast, cafe crawl and black-tie ball.

She estimated that 10,000 scones and 12,000 cucumber sandwiches would be eaten over the weekend. It also required hiring 1910 chairs and 191 tables.

But as the crowds eat their scones and sip their tea, Mrs Jackson and her team will be making sure it all comes together.

"You're firefighting and making sure everybody's happy."

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- The Dominion Post

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