A Chinese family has continued its puppet-inspired links to Orange by making its third visit in 34 years.
It all started in 1985 when Li Shu Pin came to Orange with the touring Hunan Puppet and Shadow Art Troop.
They stayed for three months and taught Orange students, including Edwina Priest, the art of puppet making.
With skills learned from Mr Li, Edwina made puppets as part of her Orange High School HSC art project in 1987.
They have come a long, long way to come and just see me but they have brought the rain, so they can't go back to China.Helen Priest, host
Fast forward to 1998 and Mr Li's son Shu, also a member of the puppetry troop, came to Orange with his wife Liu Hao Wei (April), to see the city his father had praised.
They caught up with the Priest family and stayed with them in Orange.
And on Monday the tradition continued when the couple returned to Orange, bringing daughter Li Kaiyu, who is 18, continuing 34 years of contact.
Edwina Priest is now living in Sydney so her mum, Helen, hosted the family.
"They have come a long, long way to come and just see me but they have brought the rain, so they can't go back to China," she joked.
Mr Li said he was still involved in puppetry with the Hunan troop.
His wife organised the trip by sending an email to the Central Western Daily asking for contact details for Mrs Priest, who worked at the newspaper.
"It was a good chance to meet in Australia. Before our trip I wrote an email about the trip," she said.
Their daughter Kaiyu, is studying at high school in Hamilton, New Zealand, and the whole trip has coincided with the school holidays.
Kaiyu said the family would be in Australia for about two weeks, also visiting Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
She said she did not expect to continue the family tradition of puppetry.
"I saw a lot when I was a child. I haven't made one," she said.
Kaiyu said she hoped to study graphic and product design at university.
So, what are the chances in another 21 years she might return with her own family, to visit the Priest family in Orange and continue the tradition? "Maybe," she said with a laugh.
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