A drizzly night was given a new dimension for Tauranga's Wassung family, who emerged captivated by the city council's Winter Nights Winter Lights festival.

Mark and Abigail Wassung braved the weather on Friday to enjoy the first night of the festival that ends tonight on the downtown waterfront.

''I thought it was fabulous,'' Abigail said. ''I would have gone whether it was pouring down or not - the kids need these sorts of experiences.''

She said the most impressive light feature was the interactive installation Sweep, created by Kiwi light designer Alexandra Heaney.

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The lights moved and the kids were able to touch them and move through them. ''That was brilliant.''

Her other favourite was Tauranga artist Sam Emerson's installation projected on to the wall in Masonic Park. She said kids ran around and when the lights were on them, they could see their shadows on the wall.

Mark said the adults had dumplings while the kids ate chips, baby doughnuts and waved light wands.

''There were a lot of security guys around so it was very safe.''

He said the festival was great for the kids although Friday was not very well attended because of the cold and drizzly weather.

Council communications advisor Viktoria Ermes said 10,000 people attended the festival on Friday and Saturday, with weather forcing the cancellation of last night's showing.

Winter Nights Winter Nights
What: A light festival for the whole family.
Where: Tauranga CBD and waterfront.
When: Last night tonight 6pm to 10pm.
Admission: Free but bring money to buy something from food trucks.