Making a mountain out of a Molesworth...

Roadworks on Molesworth St in New Plymouth saw Americarna's much awaited showpiece street cruise temporarily mired in gridlock.

But the behind the scenes chaos went largely unnoticed by the thousands of people who lined the street for the popular event, thanks in most part to organiser John Rae's frantic efforts to get the hundreds of cars back in formation.

"It's a great event. Little bit of an issue with Molesworth St," he said as he coralled the muscle cars back into formation after they became strung out along Devon St.

MEAN MACHINES: Americarna on  parade on Devon St.
MEAN MACHINES: Americarna on parade on Devon St.

"My biggest concern is to get all this gridlock out of my hair so these boys can do what they love doing, which is cruising."

The horn blowing, American flag waving, engine revving stop-start cruise through the city marked the end of a day which started with another traffic jam, though again, not of the type that anyone was complaining about.

In the morning more than 500 vehicles parked along Hawera's High St and hundreds of people turned up to welcome the fleet, which had travelled down after a morning stop-over in Stratford.

The family friendly atmosphere of the afternoon was clear with young and old taking the opportunity to peer through open windows and under bonnets while other posed for photos next to their favourite.

According to Eltham's David Murray and Toko's Steven Gooch Americarna's social scene is what makes it so enjoyable.

Mr Gooch, who owns a 1928 Plymouth, said he also really enjoyed Wednesday's Whangamomona trip.

"It was a blast," he said.

He said he had met a lot of people, including Mr Murray, at previous events and enjoyed the "good buzz" of being part of the Americarna community.

"You've all got something in common," Mr Gooch said.

Wellington's Mike Baucke said this was the second time he had attended Americarna and had nothing but praise for it.

"It's just so much fun," he said.

He said he especially liked how the province got behind the festival.

"I like the way all of Taranaki embrace it. You just can't get that anywhere else," he said.

Americarna organiser John Rae said he was extremely pleased with how the festival was going.

"It's just surpassed my expectations," he said.

He said the participation of the community and especially the schools across the region was an element of the event's success.

"It's mind-blowing," he said.

Along with the food stalls, crafts and street entertainment, some people also took the chance to get a birds-eye view of the street party from Hawera's Watch Tower.

Another feature of the day was the Gymcarna event held at the TSB Hub. About 20 cars were put through their paces and competed in a circuit of the carpark which tested their parking, reversing and cornering skills.

Today marks the last day of the festival, with the Americarnival being held in the New Plymouth CBD. With live music and other entertainment.

All-American appeal: Page 15

Taranaki Daily News