A winter wonderland filled with light, shadow, reflections and colour will illuminate Coromandel town from tonight.
Business association chairwoman Brenda Kelsey said the family-friendly event had something for everyone.
"We wanted to create a festival for the off season, and we always had it in the back of our minds to do a show of light during winter," Kelsey said.
The highlights include a light parade, free music in the streets, fire dancers and fire breathers, a performance by the Twisty Twinz and a fun and interactive "black light" tunnel with fluorescent face painting.
The switch to get the festival under way will be flicked at 6pm today outside the Peppertree restaurant by a well-known Coromandel personality.
"When the switch is pulled a segment of the town will light up," Kelsey said.
A light parade of 17 flashing floats will make its way through town after the big turn-on.
"Outside of town there will be a whole selection of historically significant buildings lit up, none more than a 20-minute walk," Kelsey said.
" . . . we want children to come along, and it starts at 6pm each night during the first week of the school holidays. We've tried to introduce an element of wonder. We want to tell different stories."
No matter what the weather, the light show will go on.
"Nothing will be cancelled, so wrap up warm, stay dry and bring a torch," Kelsey said.
"Its exciting, a community effort. People can drive up from Thames, have dinner, have a look around and enjoy themselves."
The festival runs from today until July 12.
For full schedule go to illumefest.co.nz