By Ashlee Gilbertson Nelson Art Festival kicks off tomorrow, taking over the town for 17 days loaded with awesome entertainment. Running until the 28th October, the festival programme offers a feast of local, national and international music, theatre, dance, workshops, writers’ talks and more at Founders Heritage Park and other major venues around Nelson. Enjoy the colourful carnival themed park, including carni characters, a house of mirrors and a plant and light installation called Life in the Luminarium. The festival features the popular Masked Parade' and More FM Carnivale celebrations which is to be held during the middle of the festival on Friday 19th October. Immediately afterwards in Trafalgar Street is free street-entertainment, food stalls and great live bands including Oh Blok, Tahuna Breaks and recent Rockquest winner New Vinyl, keeping the carnival atmosphere alive until 11pm. Be sure to check out 'The Bluebridge Founders Finale,' held Sunday 28 October from 1pm – 5pm. The festival closes with a nautical-themed afternoon of piratey games, a good old pirate battle and Irish music from Flying Feet. Win goody bags for the best costumes – a great chance to join in and dress as your favorite nautical character! To find the full programme of free and ticketed events, visit www.nelsonartsfestival.co.nz, or pick up a festival programme at Everyman Records, libraries, retailers, cafes and key visitor outlets in Nelson.