Despite the fact they were following one of Nelson’s iconic walking tracks, locals taking part in the 2017 Lantern Celebration would be forgiven if they thought they were in a dream.
The annual event, which was held on Saturday evening, transforms Nelson’s Botanics into a lantern-filled wonderland, starting with a walk up the Centre of New Zealand track to Sir Stanley Whitehead Park.
With this year’s theme being ‘Trail of Dreams’, a number of installations were positioned along the track which were a hit with the public, creating a magical atmosphere that just got better as the sun went down.
The Lantern Celebration normally attracts around 2000 people and organisers say this year’s crowd definitely met that target.
“I just think it’s so delightful, it’s something a bit different, and I think people love being out in nature, being together as a family and a community,” says Lantern Celebration coordinator Lisa Allan
At around 8:30pm, there was an official lantern lighting ceremony before the Nelson Sambassadors entertained with their infectious drumming and dancing.
On the way home, down the track, InsideOut Circus and Physical Theatre performed their brand-new UV and silk show, while LED critters and toadstools appeared from out of the bush, created by Community Art Works.
“It just makes your heart feel really warm, seeing everybody having such a lovely time together, coming together as a community and doing something so positive,” says Lisa.