Dunedin Midwinter Carnival 2020

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

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Celebrate winter in all its glory by heading to Dunedin for their annual Midwinter Carnival this June 27th. Kicking off at 5:30pm, carnival goers can enjoy food stalls, street performers, a children’s merry-go-round and a live band, and other exciting entertainment including a grande finale fireworks display.

The highlight of the evening, the Carnival Procession starts at 6 pm involving roughly a thousand people, including those who have made their own lanterns at the festivals Lantern Making Workshops earlier in the month. Giant lanterns of all shapes and sizes light up Dunedin’s Octagon, painstakingly crafted by talented artists and members of the community along with beautifully costumed dances, stilt walkers and musicians.

Each year the lanterns are built around a different theme, last year’s theme was ‘The Never Ending Night’ bringing to life the magical world of creatures from under the sea, with a focus on Antarctica. This years theme is yet to be annouced.

Otago Harbour

Carnival Details

Where To Park

To avoid getting caught up in street closures and detours, it is better to park a little further away from the Octagon and walk in. There are several parking buildings in the area and on street parking is also available. Most paid on-street parking enforcement times end at 6pm, so parking on street is a good option if you get in early.

The nearest parking buildings are the Lower Moray Place Carpark, the Wilson Parking lot on Upper Moray Place, the Wilson Parking lot on Tennyson Street and the 54 Moray Place Garage. However there are more parking buildings further afield.

Where To Get The Best Views

The route this year begins at the First Church of Otago and makes it way along Moray Place to Stuart Street around the Octagon and out along Princess Street, returning to the starting point at the First Church.

Obviously anywhere around the edges of the central Octagon are going to be great viewing, out front of St Pauls Cathedral is a good place to settle in for the night and anywhere along Moray Place between Princess Street and Stuart Street.

Outside the Regent Theatre the foot path is a lot wider, allowing for easier movement and the Dunedin Town Hall has some high steps out front that make for a good lookout point for the little ones.

St Paul's Cathedral Dunedin

How Can You Get Involved?

Other than turning up to watch the spectacular carnival showcase, there are a couple of ways you can add to the evenings enjoyment.

Lantern Making Workshops

Held every weekend in June leading up to the festival, Lantern Making Workshops are a great way to get hands on at the Midwinter Carnival.

Workshops include all materials and the guidance of experienced lantern makers. Bookings are required and a small fee, $10 payable in cash on the day is necessary. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Dunedin Midwinter Carnival Volunteering

Experience the carnival from the inside by becoming a carnival volunteer. Choose from a range of volunteer roles including Lantern Workshop Assistants, Giant Lantern Bearers, Art Team Assistants, Procession Guides, Program Distributors, Make-up and Costuming volunteers and many more.

Anyone over 15 years old can apply, no experience necessary, to register simply fill out the Volunteer Registration Form or send an email to volunteer.midwinter@gmail.com.

Festival Music Band

Key Things To Remember On The Night

  • Extended Route. The procession is taking a new extended route this year, first traveling from the First Church of Otago, along Moray Place, up Stuart Street, around the Octagon, returning to First Church via Princess Street and Moray Place.
  • Cold Temperatures. As with any winters night in Dunedin it can get rather chilly, warm jackets and appropriate clothing will make the experience more enjoyable.
  • Limited Access. Expect street closures and delays around the central city area on the night, traffic volumes will be high and parking at a premium.
  • Street Lighting. It is possible some street lighting may be switched off during the procession to accommodate the carnival lantern displays.
  • Safety First. Large crowds are expected (around 20,000 people) so stick together and keep safe.

Enjoy fun and excitement of the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival this June – just don’t forget your camera to capture all of the amazing giant lanterns!

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