The Festival of Lights is celebrating its 60th anniversary in royal style.
The lights were first put up in 1953 to mark the coronation of the Queen, and district council events manager Melissa Devine-Collins said the festival has helped put New Plymouth on the map.
"It has grown into a much-loved event that is as much a part of New Plymouth's identity as Pukekura Park or the mountain."
The TSB Bank Festival of Lights will open on Sunday, December 15, in conjunction with Christmas at the Bowl, and organisers expect 100,000 people to walk the grounds this summer.
This year the festival will showcase its history with 60 painted stepping stones, and garlands hanging from the black-light area.
On the last weekend of the festival there will also be a 60th birthday party to mark the occasion.
However lighting installers, who have been hard at work for the past three weeks, could not reveal too much, saying they had seen cut out shapes but not the finished product yet.
MJF Lighting, the Wellington firm that won the tender for the festival last year, received positive feedback from their displays and are putting on the show again this summer.
Poet's Bridge will become a "light orchard", with cathedral archways of swaying fibre-optic lights designed by installation artist Nicola Haines Ramsay.
On January 9 the park will hold "Bowl Factor," with performances from New Zealand X Factor winner Jackie Thomas and third-place getter Benny Tipene.
"We've got a great lineup of daytime and night-time events for all ages," Mrs Devine-Collins said.
Other performances on the Hatchery Lawn will include Cornerstone Roots, festival favourite Shaun Preston and the dDUB crew.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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