The Darling Square precinct in Haymarket is transforming into Hello Kitty Town until April 29, with art installations, themed snacks and limited-edition merch taking over every corner of the hub. It’s in partnership with Sanrio, the licensee of the famous character.

A five-metre-tall inflatable Hello Kitty will dominate the precinct, while Australian and international graphic designers, illustrators and street artists have created works for a free outdoor gallery. Wander through the precinct checking out signage, digital displays and bunting from artists including Brisbane illustrator Lauren Carney, Berlin artist Dxtr, Melbourne abstract artist Sahil Roy and Aussie-born, US-based artist Mel Stringer. The famous giant Buddha at Chinta Ria will even be sporting a spiffy new Hello Kitty scarf.

The precinct’s fantastic eateries have been brought into the takeover, too. Japanese-inspired Ume Burger is doing a “Bad Badtz-Maru” (another Sanrio character) cheeseburger, while Toastiesmith’s putting five limited-edition toasties (bacon, Wagyu, chicken, kimchi and pork, and garlic toast) on its menu, all with Hello Kitty-inspired bows made from ham.

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Sanrio character Gudetama – aka “Lazy Egg” – is channelled into two dishes: an egg burger at artsy-inspired cafe Auvers and a noodle dish at Iiko Mazesoba. Bubble Nini, Goobne and Uliveto are also joining in the kawaii fun with special dishes and drinks; more diners will get involved over the coming weeks.

To celebrate Lunar New Year this weekend, February 5–6, lion performers will put on shows at 1pm and 7pm. And you can pick up Hello Kitty merch including plush toys, wallets and cosmetics at an array of the hub’s retailers.

The whole shebang has been curated by Eddie Zammit and brought to life by Authority Creative.

Hello Kitty Town at Darling Square runs until April 29.