The Cultural Lantern Parade marked the beginning of the Festival of Cultures 2018 and acknowledged the 'Year of the Dog'. Over 4,000 people enjoyed the family entertainment and food trucks from 7 pm - 10 pm. The talented team at REACT (Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Centre Trust) created the new centerpiece ‘Year of the Dog’ lantern which was unveiled at the parade. REACT also hosted lantern-making workshops in the lead-up to the event. These workshops ran from 28 February – 11 March in the former Public Trust Office in the Central Library Building on The Square. The workshops were free for all ages and all materials were provided. People were invited to bring their own lanterns of any shape or size to the parade. Street performances including a Balkan-groove marching band added to the exciting and spectacular night. The parade left the stage at 8.30pm and wound its way around The Square with everyone following behind with their lanterns. Local photographer, David Lupton projected 159 portraits representing the diversity of the city onto the City Council's Central Administration Building. The lanterns were made of bamboo and/or willow – local sustainable resources and were covered with tissue paper and decorated. There are varying beliefs about the origin of lantern festivals, however, it is generally accepted that they are about celebrating and cultivating positive relationships between people, families, and nature.
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- Cultural Lantern Parade 17 March 2018
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