US Ambassador to NZ calls Americarna the biggest car show he's ever seen
Scott Brown, the US Ambassador to New Zealand, says he and his wife Gail felt immediately at home when they saw the Stars and Stripes flying in Taranaki.
"I'm not going to lie it's pretty cool," he said on Friday.
Brown, who lives in Lower Hutt, braved the wet weather in New Plymouth to visit Americarna for the first time and said it was the biggest car show he had ever seen.
"The ones I usually see are 300-400 cars," he said of the shows in America he attended.
Brown had his own mini collection of cars back in his hometown of New Hampshire, including a limited edition 1980 MGB and a GMC Sierra, but was hitching a ride with Americarna's event director John Rae to Stratford and Hāwera as part of Friday's schedule of events.
It is Brown's first proper visit to the region as US Ambassador so during his time here he would also visit Fonterra, meet with local iwi and call on some schools before he leaves on Monday.
On Thursday, Americarna hit Waitara before heading to a street party in Inglewood, where decorations filled shop fronts in the town.
A selection of cars also visited some New Plymouth rest homes.
Radius Thornleigh Park rest home resident Ruth Julian, 97, got a chance to ride in a candy apple red Buick.
The Brixton local said she was 18 when she learnt how to drive and was taught by her then-boyfriend, who later became her husband.
Julian said her husband was a good teacher but she had to stop driving at 89 because of her sight.
She said it was marvellous that the cars came to visit the rest home and it provided a real dose of nostalgia for her.
"When my father brought a car I was nine and it was a Chev," she said.
"Last year was my first year here (at the rest home) and I went out in a Chev."
After the cars return from South Taranaki on Friday, the popular night cruise through New Plymouth's CBD will be held.
On Saturday, the Americarnival day will take place in the central city from 10am until 3pm.