People visiting Whangarei's lovely tree-filled Cafler Park on Saturday can expect to come face-to-face with fairies, poets, hula dancers, singers and storytellers - and face-to-knees with stilt-walkers.

Those are just some of the colourful characters bringing the performance arts to life at Whangarei's annual ArtBeat Festival, an interactive extravaganza that will include non-stop entertainment from more than 20 acts on two stages from 10am until 4pm.

Set amid the park's trees, pathways, picnic areas and rose gardens, the festival will feature as much family fun as a wizard could shake a wand at.

"ArtBeat is the biggest free interactive festival in Northland. It's going to be a great day for all ages, with something for everyone," festival coordinator Abbey Cameron said.


"It's a beautiful park with all those big shade trees and sitting areas. It's lovely to see it used in this way."

The morning main stage line-up includes poetry readings, Northland Performing Arts Academy, Scottish country dancing and Sistema Secret Symphony. On the side stage there will be continuous performances by Whangarei Youth Music groups featuring a range of instruments and genres.

At 1pm the audience will be invited to join voices with the Giant Drop In Choir - aka Whangarei Sing - for an old-fashioned singalong, and the afternoon groove will include local musicians offering folk, blues, rock, hip-hop and pop. Master of Ceremony will be the incomparable Luke Bird.

Activities people of all ages can take part in include bead making, paper marbling, face painting, treasure hunting and, at the old cottage in the rose garden that now houses Youth Space, story telling. People are invited to bring along picnics or check out the goodies for sale at more than 60 food and craft stalls. Ms Cameron said festival-goers should bring cash.