Cars leave Maggie star struck

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2014

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She's only six months old but little Maggie Kern is a big fan of American cars.

She was bright-eyed yesterday as hundreds of cars from her mother's home country rolled into Waitara for Americarna.

Maggie, whose full name is Bridget Marguerite Kern, was dressed in a tiny red, white and blue crocheted dress.

The dress is 40 years old and was made for her mother, Marcia Hoelting Kern, who was born on Independence Day in America in 1974.

Mrs Hoelting Kern, who is from Texas, moved to Taranaki in August last year and said being in Waitara for Americarna was like having a touch of home come to her.

"Seeing cars with steering wheels on the left is amazing," she said.

Maggie was born in New Zealand and Mrs Hoelting Kern said it was quite special that her daughter got to see so many American cars at once.

But it wasn't just cars that were on offer in Waitara yesterday.

Food stalls brimming with burgers, sausages and American hot dogs lined both sides of the main street, with vendors ready and waiting to feed the visitors.

Barbara McKenzie was checking out the classic cars after the arduous task of choosing what to eat for lunch.

"That burger was terrific," she said.

Mrs McKenzie and her husband Don moved to Waitara from Feilding just before Christmas and the pair were enjoying the Taranaki town.

"We love it here. There always seems to be something to do.

"My husband is nuts on cars so he is in his element today," she said.

Mr McKenzie wasn't the only one impressed by the colourful convoy of Corvettes, Cadillacs and Chevrolets.

New Plymouth's Philip Mason, 59, said the event had really brought the wider community together.

"It's great because everyone loves it, and the shopkeepers are out here too," he said.

"These cars are pretty impressive. Americans like their cars big and that's great."

Mr Mason spent 20 years as a mechanic and he said although he loved American cars, if he could own any car in the world he'd have a Peugeot.

"Those French really know how to make a car for comfort and riding ability."

The cars also convoyed out to Inglewood yesterday afternoon, where the streets were packed with people enjoying the Americarna mood.

The cars cruised into Inglewood via Tikorangi, through the tunnel on Otaraoa Rd to Tarata, then into town via Kaimata.

The evening was filled with live music and dancing, including a guest performance from Ruth Wyand, an American blues singer.

Marie Morris, from Oscar's Kiwi Kafe said it had been one of the busiest nights of the year at the takeaway shop.

"It's so loud because everyone is having so much fun," she said.

"It's such an awesome event for the town. There's balloons and candy floss everywhere," she said.

Americarna will head out to Stratford and Hawera today.

COMING EVENTS

Friday: Leaving New Plymouth at 9.30am, the cars will head to Stratford. At 11.30am they will leave for Hawera, parking in High St until 2.30pm. The cars will then move to Hawera's TSB Hub for a Gymcarna. The cars will return to New Plymouth for a main street cruise at 6pm. They will then park up until 9.30pm. Saturday: The entire New Plymouth CBD from Eliot St to Robe St will be closed off from 7am to 4pm for the free event, Americarnival.

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