Toes tapped to the sound of Glenn Miller, women drew seams up the backs of their legs with eye-pencils, and hundreds of people clamoured to receive their rations.
Birmingham stepped back in time to 1945 yesterday to celebrate the 60th anniversary of VE Day.
While older generations reminisced about 1940s fashions, and buying their nylons on the black market, their grandchildren sat in the cockpit of a Spitfire and learned what it would have been like to be a Second World War fighter pilot.
New Street, Victoria Square and Chamberlain Square were festooned with 4,000 metres of Union Jack bunting and hundreds of balloons as people took to the streets, despite the rain, for a giant party.
The Council House was sandbagged and the surrounding area was transported back to the 1940s with live music, people in costume, and vintage vehicles.
In Chamberlain Square, a crowd danced to Sticky Wicket playing the music of Glenn Miller and Vera Lynn, and the uniformed servicemen of 1945 came face-to-face with their 2005 counterparts.
George Formby impersonator Tony Mason was doing his best to make it 'turn out nice again' and the 'Spivs' were selling black market chocolate in their faux fur coats.
Ration cards were distributed so party goers could collect free sandwiches, fruit, drinks and chocolate, which they enjoyed at tables and chairs stretching along the length of New Street. To add to the authenticity, this inevitably led to their participation in another great British tradition - the queue.
Sea Scouts handed out free Union flag hats and flags, ensuring the city centre was awash with red, white and blue as people hummed along to the White Cliffs of Dover and Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler.
In Victoria Square, drama group Silvery Moon performed a musical based on the true story of a Midland paratrooper who was captured as he parachuted into France on D-Day and his sweetheart, who was waiting for him at home.
Linda Stokes, welfare officer from the Veterans Agency, was on hand to give out advice about pensions and other benefits to those who served in the war.
John Hemming, Lib Dem MP for Yardley, said: "It's important that we remember what happened 60 years ago. My mother was evacuated from Acocks Green as a child, to Lydney in Gloucestershire, and my father was evacuated from Handsworth Wood to Stroud.
"This shows the concerns that families had as to the impact of bombing on Birmingham. More than 2,000 families died as a result of the bombardment.
"It's very important we remember the sacrifices that were made by people at the time, but it is also important that we learn from what we remember and use that to make judgements about what we do in future."
Coun John Alden, city council cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: "The city council organised one of the biggest events programmes in the country to commemorate this landmark anniversary, and to ensure that the contribution that the people of Birmingham made to the war effort was remembered.
"This is a celebration of peace as we remember the sacrifices of those who served in the armed forces and the skilled men and women who worked in munitions factories and who built, among other things, the legendary Spitfires."
Elsewhere in the West Midlands, there was a display of military vehicles in Stone Street Square, Dudley, a concert by the City of Coventry Brass Band in Memorial Park, and a Spitfire fly-by over St Mary's Church in Knutton, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.
And the VE Day commemorations are not over yet.
On the National Day of Commemoration on July 10, a special Victory Fireworks Fantasia concert will take place in Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston.
Max Bygraves is flying in from Australia to perform during the afternoon and he will be joined by the Beverley Sisters.
Birmingham will commemorate VJ Day (Victory over Japan) on August 15 with a wreath-laying service.