Whanganui's Festival of Light - Lanterns on the Awa - will return next month on the banks of the Whanganui River.
It is the Year of the Ox in the Chinese Zodiac and lanterns celebrating it have already arrived from China.
They are set to be installed by local electrical company GoFox.
Co-organiser Jan McLeod, who is Cultural Advisor at the China Friendship Society, said the Moutoa Quay precinct would be fully decorated for the event, with materials from the previous two years also being displayed again.
"The first year, to our great surprise, we got about 1000 people, and last time it was about 2000 people," McLeod said.
"A lot of East Asia celebrates it, and although it's still very cold when they have it, the temples would all have fairs to celebrate the return of warmth and light to the Earth that was on its way.
"It's a very aspirational festival."
Kai Lim is a new edition to the festival team this year and he has put his background in event management to good use.
He wanted to form a base to build on in the years to come.
"We want people to have a much better experience than two years ago, because it was too hard to see and too hard to listen," Lim said.
"The plan is to have a six metre by three metre LED screen set up, and a stage with lighting and a proper PA system.
"With any luck, it'll be successful and there'll be a lot of people, so next year we can put on something bigger."
The festival will open with a 24 Periods drum performance, before Mayor Hamish McDouall speaks about Whanganui's sister city, Lijiang, which he visited two years ago.
Two hours of music and singing, dance, and martial arts will follow, both live and on the big screen, with food stalls and craft stands operating nearby.
"There will be a large seating area, so we encourage people to bring rugs and picnic chairs," Lim said.
"We want people to really enjoy themselves. This might be our stepping stone, we want to do it small but do it well.
"The whole idea is to get it done properly, then next year more people will want to be a part of it, there'll be more access to funding, and more credibility.
The show would end with a traditional bonfire dance.
"Hopefully that will involve audience participation," McLeod said.
"Proceeds from the event will be used by NZCFS to advance our work in both countries, building goodwill, friendship and understanding in the spirit of Rewi Alley."
Alley, a former Whanganui citizen, was an educator and humanitarian who founded the Gung Ho Co-operative movement and Bailie 'half work/half study' schools for China's rural youth to learn modern industrial skills in the 1940s and 50s.
Lantern festivals in bigger New Zealand centres attracted tens of thousands of people, McLeod said, and she saw no reason why the Whanganui version couldn't continue to grow over the next few years.
"Because China covers such a huge geographical span, from the Tropics to Siberia, there are a lot of variations of what people can do during the winter.
"There are some wonderful crafts that have grown out of the festival, and they span Korea, Japan, and other parts of Asia.
"Eventually we would like to be able to cover the whole spectrum of East Asia."
Lanterns on the Awa takes place on Saturday, May 8 at 7 Taupo Quay (the same location as the Whanganui River Markets).
It runs from 5pm-9.30pm, and entry is free.