Event Recap – Americarna New Plymouth!

I know I should have done this one by now, but I’m playing catch up in a big way right now.
Hopefully things will settle down again after Beach Hop / VVDO, and I can get back to blogging in a timely fashion!
(And on the note of VVDO, have you guys all voted for me for Miss Publicity / People’s Choice for the Miss Pinup NZ contest?)

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Anyway, we’re talking about Americarna today, so VVDO can wait!
You will have to excuse the photos in this post….a good chunk of them are just harvested from instagram, because I didn’t take any on my actual camera until friday night!

The Americarna Festival is held every year in New Plymouth, and has grown and grown – to the point that new hotels had to be built in NP to hold all the extra visitors to the city!
This year there were something like 630 cars registered, with the only rule being that they are legit american vehicles, not just american-themed (like some hot rods).

Glory Days was running the show at the Americarna Vintage Market, with the view of bringing a little more vintage culture to the event. I went down to man the Pamper Parlour for 3 days at the TSB Stadium (Wednesday – Friday) and also on the Saturday when the market was moved into the city!


I arrived on Tuesday afternoon, after another long and winding bus ride, and went straight to the stadium to help set up our stall! After that was all sorted and ready for the morning, I went to dinner at the Deluxe Diner, with Rose and Matt from Glory Days!


Initially, I had thought that there wouldn’t be much for me to eat at an American-style diner, but I was happy to soak up the ambience and eat some fries or something, but holy hell you guys, there were so many really good vegetarian options there. Like, heaps. I think I ended up getting something from the diner every day that I was there….

Day One – Wednesday
Wednesday was the opening day of the event, so there were at least a few hundred people coming through the doors. The runs didn’t start until the following day though, so we didn’t see a lot of business at the Pamper Parlour, but a lot of people came to say hi and ask questions, and most came back to see us and get dolled up on the following days!

Rose and I at our cute little stall!

I decided early on that after my rather demure weekend at Art Deco, I was going to make the most of the slightly trashy nature of Americarna and go big – outfits, hair, eyelashes, everything!
A good portion of the reason that people come and talk to me at events is because I look interesting, and they want to see what it is that I do. Subsequently, at most of the markets I work at (particularly when they aren’t specific to the pinup community!) I try to make sure that my look is polished, but very bright and colourful. Not that this is particularly far removed from my usual, but if I’m a talking point, I’ll get more business.

For the first day, I decided on my brightest and most colourful dress, which doesn’t photograph all that well, but is covered in Candy Hearts! I made this one ages ago, and the tie-belt and straps perfectly match my hair!

I also went big on the hair front, choosing a style that I don’t often wear outside of events – Victory Rolls. Once you’ve done a few Pamper Parlours, you learn pretty quickly that everyone wants victory rolls, but sometimes they don’t know what they’re called. If you have your own hair in them, then they can just point and say “I want mine like yours”.
(And if they have absolutely no idea what they want, chances are, they’ll also say “I want mine like yours”, so it’s wise to choose something that you can replicate really quickly and easily!)


Day Two – Thursday

Thursday was a pretty long day for us (8.30am – 7pm!) which started off busy, and then had these huuuuuuge dead patches while the cars were out on their runs. They had themed it “50’s Thursday”, so there was an abundance of highly flammable costume wigs and ‘Pink Ladies’ jackets, interspersed with some really pretty reproduction dresses – all in polka dots, or black with red roses (or a few that were black with polka dots and roses!) because apparently everyone in the 1950s wore only black, red, and white.

Ok, that’s a bit mean. I know a lot of people don’t have the same background in fashion history that I do, but it was a little funny!


Once again, I went big – on the hair in particular, going with a big giant poodle and some flowers that may or may not be bigger than my face.
I had left my whole kit at the stadium over night, neglecting to bring any product back to my hostel, so my hair was a frizzy nightmare, but I accepted that pretty quickly and moved on with my life.


Day Three – Friday

Friday was a short day, sort of. There was a breakfast for the participants, before their first run of the day left at 9am, so we started bright and early at 7am!
Unfortunately, 7am is not a time I am particularly familiar with, so it took a lot of convincing to drag my ass out of bed.
This meant no makeup, and a bit of a half-assed beehive, but I had grand plans to head back to the hostel and nap before the party that night, so I wasn’t too phased!

Rose and I with our last clients of the day – Two sisters, with cute beehives!

This was our last day at the Stadium – Our next set up was happening at the public market on Currie Street in the CBD, so we had to pack down and say goodbye to our market buddies!

Left to Right: Amy from Vintage Mash; Judy from 19Black; Rose from Glory Days; Tina from Mavis and Bob; Me! 

After the pack down, I went back to my hostel. Now, bear in mind, I went with the cheapest accommodation option in order to maximise profits over the week, so I was in a room with 5 other people directly above a Karaoke bar…but I’ve certainly slept in worse places, and this one had a lovely little rooftop terrace overlooking the beach!


I sat out there reading my book for a few hours (A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, in case you were wondering) before getting my shit together to go to the Diner for our little soiree!




I was going to set up a wee photobooth-type situation, but for some reason I forgot to put the power cord for my flash kit in my gear bag. Sigh.
I did take some photos, but as the night progressed and it got darker, that became harder and harder!

But anyway you live and learn, and now I shall make sure to check my gear before I leave!
In no particular order, here are some snaps…..

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I just have to take a moment here to talk about the food.
Now, obviously that burger isn’t mine, I don’t eat meat, but their vegetarian burgers are amazing. I had the ‘Quincey Jones’ and the Falafel Burger, and both were absolutely spectacular, and the vege nachos were also pretty damn good.

The real star though, in my opinion, is the milkshake menu. You guys. I just cannot put into words how much their Snickers milkshake helped me get through some long days at the stadium, because Chere from the Diner is an absolute honey and kept bringing us food so we didn’t have to eat manky sandwiches from the stadium cafeteria all week.

Worth a mention too is the Knickerbocker Glory. Amy ordered the Cheesecake one, and not only was it humongous, it also came with a full sized piece of cheesecake.
Definitely the kind of dessert you buy to share.

They do have small plate meals and half sizes though, so if you’re not all that into sharing your food, then no drama!

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Chere – Owner of Deluxe Diner, and an angel in a beehive.


Day Four – Saturday!


Saturday was a bit miserable really! Woke up, and the sky was pretty grey….but we powered on, and set up our wee stall at the market on Currie Street, ready to bring some vintage glam to the streets of New Plymouth!
Unfortunately it started raining at about midday, which wasn’t too bad….just meant we had to pack down a little earlier than expected!


I was shooting that afternoon at the Diner, so we headed down a bit early to order some lunch and get out of the rain.
I had two bookings, but one cancelled, so that was unfortunate, but I did an extra-long shoot with Tapanga, who had come to get her hair and makeup done at market that morning, and had even bought a dress especially for her shoot!


I wont show you the full set in this post, as it’s already pretty pic-heavy, but Tapanga did an amazing job! It was her first ever photoshoot, so I tried to keep it pretty relaxed!

Tapanga - Watermarks (6 of 20) Tapanga - Watermarks (17 of 20)
And with that, my time in New Plymouth was over!
I went back to my shady hostel to pack my gear, and then basically just passed out until it was time to jump on the bus back to Auckland the next day!

Until next time New Plymouth! I’ll be back!
<3 Fran

1 Comment

  1. Chere

    Hi Fran cool website and a great article too, It was lovely having you come visit the Diner, we look forward to next year and working on the event to make it more successful.

    Regards Chere Bailey
    Owner Deluxe Diner


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