Christmas is arriving early for a rural North Island town and staying for a month.
Greytown in the Wairarapa begins its Festival of Christmas on 1 July, bringing the hallmarks of a Northern Hemisphere winter escape with a New Zealand twist.
The idea started post-lockdown in 2020, but has morphed into a new tradition with lights, night markets, workshops, parties and family activities.
This year's theme is gingerbread, which organisers said would provide fresh inspiration to the food, drinks and entertainment on offer.
The chairman of Greytown's business promotion group, Country Village Heaven, Ed Read, was excited to welcome a spiced up programme.
"Last year people came out in droves to be part of our mid-winter festival. So this year we're doubling down on the things that people loved, and mixing it up with some fun new additions.
"There will be more spectacular lighting projections on buildings in Main Street, thanks to the talent of local lighting and AV guru Mike Green.
"The European Style Night Markets will become a larger feature, with beautiful festoon lighting, food and artisan products, and there will be ticketed events and workshops, plus free activities for families."
The event would borrow an Easter tradition and add a Christmas twist with a gingerbread hunt.
But instead of finding tasty treats, searchers would be on the lookout for more than 2m tall gingerbread men hidden around town.