A magical garden of lanterns to behold

People will parade around the lanterns instead of the lanterns parading around people at this year’s Summer Lights display.

The theme of this year’s display is "Magical Garden" and features lanterns made for the 2020 Midwinter Carnival, which was cancelled in June due to Covid-19.

During the Midwinter Carnival hundreds of people carrying lanterns parade around Dunedin’s Octagon.

At the Summer Lights display, which has taken place since 2015, people walk around the lanterns instead.

Art director Philipa Crofskey said at this year’s event, being held in the former Living and Party store in Princes St, people would follow yellow tape through a "forest of flowers", winding past a pond, a dragon, and a castle.

Artistic director Philipa Crofskey sets up Summer Lights, a display featuring lanterns from this...
Artistic director Philipa Crofskey sets up Summer Lights, a display featuring lanterns from this year’s cancelled Dunedin Midwinter Carnival. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
There were also moa, owls and a giant peacock to navigate, and even some "surprise unicorns".

Dunedin Midwinter Celebration Trust chairman Paul Smith said he had been active in the carnival for 15 years and it was still great to see the excitement on people’s faces as they saw the lanterns to their full effect.

"I’ve seen generations of people enjoy the carnival."

Summer Lights, as an expansion of Dunedin’s Midwinter Carnival celebrations, was becoming a new tradition in the lead-up to summer and Christmas.

"Families are looking for something special to do."

When not on display, the lanterns were kept in storage. The funds from the Summer Lights event, which cost $5 for children over 5 and $10 for adults, went towards storage costs, Mr Smith said.

Summer Lights will be open to the public from December 17 to 20.

Summer Lights

What: A walk-through installation of giant lanterns in an unused store in Princes St.

When: Four days from December 17 to 20. Open twice daily from 1pm-4pm, and 6pm-9pm.

Where: 204 Princes St

Cost: Free for under-5s, $5 for children over 5 years old and $10 for adults.

-  By Ruby Heyward

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