After 18 months of anticipation, the first IKEA Canberra store has officially opened its doors at Majura Park.
It saw more than 12,000 visitors and the serving of at least one tonne of meatballs.
Like moths to a blue and yellow flame, thousands lined up to be first inside with many arriving well before dawn.
Expected traffic delays around Majura Park in the morning were minor as hundreds of people lined up before the doors opened.
An IKEA spokeswoman said there were several thousand waiting when the doors opened at 9.30am, and 5000 had passed through them by 2pm.
The IKEA restaurant and Swedish Food Market had served more than 8000 people by 4.30pm.
The store, which is open until 9pm every night until Sunday November 22, expected 15,000 visitors on its first day.
First in line Nardine Johnson, Mandi White, Belinda Turner and Mel Preston drove into the carpark at 3.15am, and were met by a somewhat perplexed security guard.
"He approached us and he flashed the torch at us and said 'what are you doing?' and we said 'we've come to get in line' and he said 'it doesn't open til 9.30'. He told us to stay in the car," said White.
"We love IKEA and we were second in line when Costco opened and we wanted to be first this time."
Second in line Wayne Cook and his girlfriend Michelle Connor were hoping to nab the first spot, arriving at 4.28am.
"It was funny because we drove into the carpark and there didn't look to be anybody lined up and my girlfriend got quite excited," Cook said.
And we drove up near a car, and four windows wound down. And the demeanour dropped straight away," Cook said.
Mother and daughter Sarah and Claudia Rososinski arrived at 9am just before the official opening, and said that they were pleasantly surprised by smaller crowds than they expected.
"We got a carpark not too far from the front – it's much better than we expected we were actually thinking of not coming out but we're glad we did," said Sarah.
IKEA Canberra store manager Mark Mitchinson and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr cut the yellow ribbon, before the line of people streamed through the doors to the applause of staff and a brass band.
The crowd included union representatives who were protesting the tax practices of the multinational corporation. But it didn't dampen the spirits of the many people excited to finally have easy access to their beloved Swedish flat-packed furniture.
Mr Mitchinson said he was thrilled so many people came to support the opening day.
"The excitement in store has continued as we've welcomed a steady stream of visitors," he said.
The store is expecting high crowd numbers through its first weekend, with extended opening hours.
- With Clare Sibthorpe