An impressive display of willow lanterns will parade through Chichester city centre on Friday 10 June as part of the ‘Carnival of Lights’ event.
The carnival is one of four headline ‘Ignite’ events in the Culture Spark calendar — a wonderful season of events, performances, live entertainment, and community projects to celebrate a momentous year of art and culture in the Chichester District.
The festivities begin at 5pm in Priory Park with a placard-making workshop and whale storytelling show for children. The lantern parade moves off at 6pm, weaving through the streets of Chichester, and culminating in a fiesta themed evening at Chichester Canal Basin.
Performances by a professional samba band; a cabaret trio from the University of Chichester; local dance group Dance and Beyond; and West Sussex Choirs will add to the celebrations at the canal, where local vendors will be offering a range of street food.
The theme of the parade is environmental sustainability. More than 1,000 people from across the district have been involved in creating the lanterns which have been decorated with illustrations of flowers, animals, and wildlife to reflect the local environment.
Back in January, Chichester Festival Theatre gathered 16 local artists to learn how to create willow lanterns from Brighton-based expert lantern makers, Same Sky, before heading out into 28 schools and community groups to deliver lantern making workshops across the district.
Caroline Sharman-Mendoza, Creative Co-ordinator, says: “The Carnival of Lights has brought people from all over the district together to create a colourful sea of exciting lanterns and many of the designs have been inspired by the rich culture and heritage of our area.
“Pupils from seven primary schools in the Petworth area took part in workshops, supported by West Sussex Arts Society, and have decorated their lanterns with deer, stags and wildflowers inspired by the grounds at Petworth House.
“A group of young carers at Tuppenny Barn were inspired by the story of the re-introduction of oysters to Emsworth Harbour and have decorated their lanterns with shellfish designs.
“At the Sanctuary, a charity supporting refugees in the area, participants and artists created replicas of the Municipal Moon, a lantern that was last used as part of a procession to open Chichester Festival Theatre in 1962. We’re very excited to see all of these lanterns and many more parade through Chichester in the Carnival of Lights.
“I would also like to thank our Culture Spark sponsors, Stagecoach and Rathbones Group Plc for their support.”
Following the event on 10 June, the lanterns will return to their hometowns in the district to be featured in local parades and exhibitions, such as Petworth’s Fete in the Park on 9 July. Information on these events will be made available at www.thegreatsussexway.org/culture-spark-2022/
Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council, says: “This is set to be a fantastic event and we want as many people as possible to join us for this celebration so please bring your friends and family along.
“The Culture Spark programme is well underway, and there are lots of exciting events coming up including the ‘We the People’ photographic exhibition on display at Petworth House from 30 May until 12 June. There’s also two Big Picnic events being held in Midhurst and Chichester on 12 and 16 July.”
Celebrations will be taking place this year to recognise several milestone anniversaries in the local culture and heritage sector, including 60 years of Chichester Festival Theatre; 40 years of Pallant House Gallery; 30 years of Chichester Cinema at New Park’s International Film Festival; 10 years of The Novium Museum and the Festival of Chichester; and even more impressively, 200 years of the Canal Trust! All of the organisations will be holding their own exciting events as part of the season to mark this special year.
Culture Spark will also bring people together to showcase work by the next generation of local creatives – thanks to initial investment into the project from Chichester District Council, Chichester Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery.
The full programme of Culture Spark events can be found at: www.thegreatsussexway.org/culture-spark-2022/