As temperatures plummeted to -2 degrees, thousands participated in Dover’s Winter Light Up on Saturday, 2nd December. Spectators and participants carried over 600 star lanterns, crafted during Future Foundry workshops throughout November, amounting to 133 hours of collaboration with schools, community groups, and the general public. The sea of brightly lit lanterns marched through the chilly evening, following in the footsteps of eleven adorable, illuminated animal sculptures also created by Future Foundry artists.
The procession was led by the Mayor of Dover, Sue Jones, accompanied by the Leader of Dover District Council, Kevin Mills, and young people from Future Foundry’s Youth Arts Club, The Forge. As the grand constructions of Kentish wildlife paraded through the streets of Dover, spirits were high, and everyone kept dancing, thanks to the magnificent samba drumming bands Bloco Fogo (Tunbridge Wells) and Drum And Blaze (Brighton).
In the words of event compere Perry O’Bree, “it was absolutely amazing to see everybody from Dover and further afield come to the market square and celebrate the holidays together with the incredible lanterns from Future Foundry. To see everyone show so much love for each other and for the community to come together on such a cold day and show that ‘hey, we’re here, we’re happy and we’re very excited for the holidays’ was very special.”
The procession marked the finale of a day of festive entertainment in Market Square with a Christmas Market, performances, food and drink delivered by Dover Town Council, who extend gratitude to all who joined the Dover Winter Light Up Celebrations and said ‘Dover was filled with festive joy and cheer. Special thanks to the artists, performers, market traders, volunteers, sponsors, and partners for making the event truly exceptional, marking it as one of Dover’s finest winter celebrations yet. Here’s to more shared festivities and memorable moments in the future’.
The procession and Dover Winter Light Up was developed in partnership with Dover Town Council and Future Foundry, supported using public funding by Arts Council England and by Colyer Fergusson Trust, Dover Community Association, Port of Dover and Dover District Council.