Three Chinese musicians will be flying 20,000km to perform for two nights at this year's Lighting of the Osmanthus Gardens, held at Hastings' Cornwall Park.
Hastings District councillor and event organiser Kevin Watkins said this would be just one of the new, very special, features of the lighting of the gardens. This event runs for five nights from tomorrow.
"We are absolutely delighted that these musicians from our Sister City Guilin are travelling a round trip of almost 20,000km to add a real Guilin musical experience to the lantern festival," Mr Watkins said.
The musicians will be in New Zealand only for the weekend. They fly in on Friday, play on Saturday and Sunday evenings and fly home on the Monday, courtesy of the Guilin Foreign Affairs Office.
"That is a very big commitment,:" Mr Watkins said. "They will be playing traditional stringed instruments and dressed in the very colourful minority costumes found in and around Guilin and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
"During the breaks in their programme they will be walking around the garden and people are welcome and encouraged to enjoy having photographs with them."
There will be plenty of other entertainment for the ninth annual Lighting of the Osmanthus Gardens - including Evy Tian playing the nearly 2000-year-old traditional Chinese instrument, the pipa, for three evenings from tomorrow.
More floating lanterns will be installed this year, with another four of the huge lotus lamps first imported last year arriving in time for the festival.
"That will make eight placed in the larger of the two lakes, creating a stunning scene as darkness descends on the garden," said Mr Watkins.
"The lotus is regarded in China as one of the top 10 flowers. It is a remarkable flower, noted not only for its ability to grow in muddy ponds, but also for its beautiful colours, size, and the richness of its symbolism."
- In Cornwall Park, Hastings
-The lighting of the gardens is Wednesday April 4 to Sunday April 8, 6pm to 10pm, with live music ending at 9.30pm.
-Gold coin entry, by way of the Tomoana Rd main garden gates, with the exit through the northeastern side of the garden into Cornwall Park. The first 200 visitors on the Wednesday evening receive a free ice cream.