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Bookings now open for Lantern Workshops - plus a new addition!


Registrations for the 2019 Midwinter Carnival’s public lantern building workshops are open now, and are expected to fill up fast despite an extra weekend workshop added this year. Workshops co-ordinator Tania Bracey-Brown said that the Carnival Art Team was well underway building the large feature lanterns, but need the help of the public to make the hundreds of lanterns for the Carnival Procession .


“I remember making lanterns as a child. It was really rewarding. We plan to make over 500 lanterns in the public workshops this year.” The workshops are a chance for anyone to have a hands-on part in the magic of the Carnival.


There are four public workshops taking place over four weekends leading up to the event, each with a different lantern in keeping with the Carnival theme, and a different level of difficulty. “This year we’ve got a fish, an icicle, a star and a penguin lantern. The penguin and the fish are slightly harder but not too hard.”


Workshop participants will be able to build their own lantern to join in the parade on the 22nd of June, and then take home afterwards. Materials and trained instructors are covered by a $10 fee.


One workshop this year is different: the star lanterns to be created at the Meridian Mall will instead be used for a glowing decorative display in the Octagon. “This is a first for the Carnival,” said Bracey-Brown. “It’s going to be really cool to use them to create a wonderful atmosphere in the Octagon.”


Registrations are easy - simply click on the 'Workshops' link here on the website.



'The Never Ending Night' announced as new theme for 2019 Midwinter Carnival 


The Dunedin Midwinter Carnival will take place on Saturday 22nd June in the Octagon, in central Dunedin. The event will start at 5.00pm, with the procession beginning at 6pm.

As the days grow shorter and the air grows chilly, a team of dedicated artists are busy preparing for one of the city’s most beloved celebrations, where art and performance create a unique and magical event.

This year’s theme is ‘The Never Ending Night’ and will focus on the magic, wildlife and vastness of the world’s southernmost continent, Antarctica. Artistic Director Hannah Johnston said that the Carnival will bring ‘beautiful wildlife, mysterious creatures and colourful characters’ to Dunedin’s streets. ‘Given the fragile state of Antarctica’s environment and ecosystem, now is a great time to learn about and celebrate this beautiful, desolate continent.’

Adding to the atmosphere will be live music, dozens of food stalls, lighting effects, roving performers and the spectacular fireworks display.

The ever-populer lantern-making workshops return with an added fourth workshop, each held on the four weekends leading up to the Midwinter Carnival event. The extra workshop will create lanterns for a public display to decorate the Octagon. This is a great opportunity for families to participate in the Midwinter Carnival and be involved in a large community event.



Midwinter Carnival 2017 theme is announced as Artistic Director Steps down

The Midwinter Carnival will take place on 24th June (with a postponement date of Sunday 25th) at the Octagon, in central Dunedin. The event will start at 5.00pm, with the procession taking place at 6pm. 

The Midwinter Carnival is a much loved community celebration of Winter, where art and performance create a unique and magical event.  The highlight of the evening is the Carnival procession, which includes over 1,000 people and hundreds of hand crafted lanterns.  Every year, a much anticipated spectacle is the giant lanterns, costumed stilt walkers, dancers and musicians, parading through the Octagon.

The event now attracts upwards of 15,000 people, and the numbers go up every year.

While Carnival organisers tried to extend the route this year, to accommodate the growing numbers, it proved logistically impossible, as the turning off of street lights around Moray place became an insurmountable issue.

The Carnival’s long-time artistic director; Juliet Novena Sorrel, is stepping down this year. Having created the event’s unique aesthetic, encompassing everything from costuming, lantern making and performance direction, Juliet’s vision has been integral to the Carnival’s striking imagery and carefully curated themes. 

This year, Juliet will step aside in order for the Carnival Art Team to realise their collective vision of this year’s theme.

‘This year I am mentoring our Art team who have increased their responsibilities and will work as a collective to artistically direct the event.They have a wealth of skills between them so I'm totally confident that the Carnival is in good hands.’

Juliet plans to focus on her work as a visual artist and also on her teaching, and looks forward to seeing the Carnival grow and change, as new ideas and artists come on board.

‘I've given this event my best and really learned a lot and feel so proud of what we have achieved up to now. So I’m passing the vision on to new people and I’m sure it will continue to be an incredible community event for many years’


 2016 Midwinter Carnival Largest Yet

Dunedin’s Midwinter Carnival for 2016 was an unparalleled success on Saturday night, attracting the biggest crowd in its 19 year history.
Dunedin City Council staff estimated between 15,000 and 18,000 people attended the event, which also featured the largest number of participants yet.
The event included 14 giant lanterns, 150 performers, over 400 lanterns made by families, and over 1000 people in the Carnival Procession.
The theme this year was ‘Future Worlds’ which was brought to life by stunning giant lanterns and highly imaginative costumes worn by twelve separate performance groups.
Artistic director, Juliet Novena Sorrel, said she was very proud of the work of the Carnival Art Team and the many performance groups involved. 'They understood the theme and really made it their own, creating some very beautiful moments in the procession.'
'The work involved in creating dozens of costumes from scratch and highly intricate lantern sculptures is immense. Our hope now is that we can secure a decent work space for the Art Team and the work we have made.'
Due to the event’s growing popularity and increased audience attendance, oranisers are investigating a new longer route for next year’s event. This will make it easier for the audience to view the procession. A Carnival Arts Workshop to store, display and work on future events has also been proposed.

'We have put a funding proposal to the Dunedin City Council and are hoping that the result will be positive. When you look at the video of Saturday's event, you couldn't get a better advertisement for Dunedin. It's a good investment for the city.' 


Media Enquiries

We have a wide range of beautiful photos and some great stories to tell about the many community groups and artists involved. 



Paul Smith

Phone: 021 150 9207