Whanganui's unique celebration of women and community, La Fiesta, returns in February for its seventh year.

The event is held by the Wanganui Women's Network and will run from February 20 to March 10.

Carla Donson from the Women's Network said there were more than 50 activities on offer this year, from art exhibitions to author talks, self-defence classes to dance classes, legal advice to movie nights.

"The line-up this year includes some very special out of town guests, including award-winning comedian, author and actor Michele A'Court; Tauranga-based author and award-winner Debbie McCauley; Wellington comedian Caroline Welkin and Taranaki band Glass Boat.


"Emma Gatsby, presenter of WOMAN: the Radio Show on Access Radio in Wellington will record a live show from Whanganui as part of the festival," Ms Donson said.

"The Gonville Knitting Group are a special feature in the La Fiesta programme this year. Look out for their colourful graffiti knitting and yarn-bombing appearing around town during the festival."

The ever-popular Frocks On Bikes will also return for La Fiesta, bringing out local male feminists in support.

Ms Donson said La Fiesta began with "a bright idea that kept on growing".

"I have met so many aspirational and inspirational women in the course of my work, as well as some incredibly supportive men, and I wanted Whanganui people to get to know them too."

She said businesses, community groups, creatives, entrepreneurs, service groups, social clubs and a host of sporty types and travellers have put their hands up to be involved.

"Many of the original contributors continue their involvement and the addition of new presenters each year keeps La Fiesta vibrant and diverse. Local galleries Gallery On Guyton and Space Studio and Gallery are curating special exhibitions featuring the work of women artists to run during the festival, including activities within the gallery spaces, Ms Donson told the Chronicle.

At its heart, she said, La Fiesta is a celebration of International Women's Day. This festival has been celebrated on March 8 every year since 1911. It is a national holiday in almost 30 countries.

This year on International Women's Day, La Fiesta's feature event will be Michele A'Court performing her acclaimed show, Stuff I Forgot To Tell My Daughter, at the War Memorial Hall.

For more information on La Fiesta, visit www.facebook.com/LaFiestaNZ.