Last weekend I went along to the Chinese Lantern Festival in North Hagley Park. This annual event is usually held in Victoria Square but due to the Earthquake and the CBD still being cordoned off, the location was changed to Hagley Park like most things at the moment.
I was in two minds about whether to go or not as I have been several times over hte last few years and usually it’s the same lanterns year in year out. It was a pleasant surprise to see some new lights, mixed in with the old, which must have been rescued from inside the CBD. (The festival was cancelled last year as the Earthquake happened just before)
The festival is to mark the start of the Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the dragon so there were lots of those around plus plenty more to amuse the crowds. There were several shows with performers from China and even a karaoke stage although we got there too late to take part in that.
It was definitely a different atmosphere than previous years. I think that it was spread out a lot more than usual meant that there wasn’t the same buzz around. We did go fairly late though as I wanted to take photos at night so it might have been different earlier on. The stalls selling all the food were very buzy though and the smells coming from them were amazing. There didn’t seem to be as many stalls selling little nik-naks and artwork as I have previously seen. I’m a fan of these so I did miss being able to see the various bits and pieces.
All in all it was a great festival and well worth a visit to have a look. The lanterns lit up Hagley Park beautifully so it was a photographers dream. I even saw some crazy ones waist deep in the Avon River to get better shots of lanterns and the people at the festival. That’s definitely dedication for you – It was a bit too cold for me to be game enough – although another photographer and I did discuss that it would have been a good idea. It would have been great if the festival were on for longer as I know a lot of people who didn’t realise it was on and only found out this morning when the rest of us were talking about it.
To see more photographs from the festival, check out the Chinese Lantern Festival album in my photography section.