It will be a tough job judging this year's Waipu Art 'n Tartan Wearable Art Awards with 52 high-standard entries from Kaitaia to Christchurch to Central Otago.

The event, on Friday from 8pm to 10pm and Saturday, with a matinee at 2pm and then award show from 8pm, is back for the sixth year.

Production secretary Mo Pettit said she had seen this year's entries and the designers had made it tough for the judges.

"The judges' comments were that the standard has definitely gone up and so it has made their job much harder."

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Ms Pettit said there were 52 entries in this year's show at the Celtic Barn, in Caledonian Park, from across New Zealand.

The show has a range of sections, including Dressed to Kilt - an open section where designers choose their own theme or concept; Re-invent, Recycle and Re-Use - where designers are tasked with constructing a piece of wearable art; and The Engine Room - for those keen on testing their engineering skills.

"I looked at some [designs] and I was totally gobsmacked. I'm not an arty person so I don't even know how they can see that idea in their head and then make it come to fruition."

Ms Pettit said it was not uncommon for entrants to begin work on their designs a year in advance.

She said that after the show some designers would already be thinking about next year's entry.

There was space for about 500 people per show and the award night and the matinee show were already sold out.

People would need to get in quick because there were fewer than 100 tickets left for the Friday show, Ms Pettit said.

"It's a huge community thing and they get right behind it. We have a huge team of volunteers in the background."

- For more information on the Waipu Art 'n Tartan Wearable Art Awards visit www.waipumuseum.com/html/events.htm