Dover shone bright on Saturday 3rd December with a procession of 5 metre tall dancing lantern sculptures transforming its streets, accompanied by a 1000 children and adults carrying 500 star lanterns. Huge queues formed for the enchanting Fire Garden created by Walk the Plank and filling the Roman lawn with shooting flames and steampunk wizardry. It was all part of Dover’s Winter Light Up event organised by Destination Dover, Future Foundry and Dover Town Council.
The procession of Giant Creatures was created by Dover based arts organisation Future Foundry who also staged the extraordinary Walk with Amal event in Dover, developing a Dover based specialist team of lantern artists.
The giant glowing lanterns, depicting local wildlife included a chough, stag and little egret were created by Freyja Crow, Zo Defferary, Bid Tophill and Future Foundry Director Lisa Oulton. These towering luminous constructions reach nearly 5 metres when carried and are completely unique to Dover. Made of bamboo, willow and tissue, they take many days and much skill to make. The 500+ star lanterns had been made by schools and community groups from across Dover led by Future Foundry artist Frazer Doyle and a dedicated team of makers.
Characters from last year were joined by a ‘Highland Cow, ‘Frog’ and ‘Peregrine Falcon’, seen nesting on the White Cliffs, plus a ‘Hare’ spotted by the team near Lydden. The structures were lit with LED lights, designed by Tim Drinkal TDI Electrical Contractors.
The beautiful illustrations for the project were once again created by artist Greg Stobbs, who worked with the team to create the characters for the event and the eye catching poster. A range of inspirations contributed to the designs, from local wildlife to the decoration in the Maison Dieu and folk, pagan and solstice traditions.
Lisa Oulton from Future Foundry said, ‘We were so excited to be supported by Dover District Council, Dover Town Council and Destination Dover to once again develop an event for Dover.’
‘An event like this is a fantastic way to bring the whole family together and attract visitors to Dover, but it also embeds a range of professional skills and experience for our Dover based artist teams.
The Future Foundry team and hundreds of local children and volunteers have been working for many weeks to get everything ready. This event not only provided training in lantern design and construction for our artist team, but also our youth arts club and children in schools across the town.
The procession was nearly twice as big as last year and our ambition for the future, is that our skills and aspirations for bigger and better lanterns and events will just keep growing.’
Over 5,500 people came to Dover’s Roman Lawn to see Walk the Plank’s unforgettable Fire Garden sponsored by Port of Dover, illuminated by intricately carved flower and flame-filled chimneys filled with mesmerising mechanical lotuses which burst into flame before your eyes and holly bushes that ignited in a flash.
Diederik Smet from Destination Dover said, ‘Once again thank you to the community of Dover who came out to support the Dover Winter Light Up event. It was wonderful to see so many people of all ages enjoying Dover at its best.
Thank you to our main sponsors of the event, Dover Town Council, Port of Dover, Dover District Council for supporting Destination Dover and Future Foundry to put on this event for the community.
Town Mayor of Dover, Cllr Gordon Cowan said, ‘The Dover Winter Light Up made Dover shine even brighter – bringing together more families and festivity. I would like to thank all involved to help make this special event happen and look forward to next year’s event.’
Planning for next year’s Dover’s Winter Light Up has already began so save the date Saturday 2nd December 2023 further details to be confirmed nearer the time by Destination Dover, Dover Town Council and Future Foundry.