Midwinter Carnival to celebrate the Antarctic

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Undersea wonders . . . Dunedin Midwinter Carnival performance co-ordinator Rochelle Brophy, modelling a jellyfish costume, is surrounded by some of the giant lanterns under construction for the carnival parade on June 22. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Schools of fish will dart among fantastic undersea creatures – from jellyfish to whales – in this month’s Dunedin Midwinter Carnival.

The much anticipated annual carnival procession, to be held on Saturday in the Octagon and central city will involve about 1000 people, including stilt walkers, dancers, musicians, and families carrying lanterns.

This year’s theme – “The Never Ending Night” – focuses on the magic, wildlife and vastness of the Antarctic.

Carnival artistic director Hannah Johnston said, given the fragile state of the Antarctic environment, now was “a great time to learn about and celebrate this beautiful, desolate continent”.

A team of dedicated artists are busy creating giant lanterns, including whales, seals, penguins, icebergs and even an explorer vessel, which will be the centrepiece of the parade.

“Think National Geographic meets a street carnival.”

A new element of the event this year will be star-shaped lanterns, which have been made in workshops by the public and will be hung around the Octagon.

Carnival performance co-ordinator Rochelle Brophy is working with 17 main performance groups for the parade, including Koru Dance from Oamaru, Brophy Aerials and Dunedin Derby roller skaters, as well as new groups the Black and White Dancers, Kavanagh Jazz Band and the Husky Man with his four special dogs.

While things are coming together well, some extra volunteers are needed to help with gluing tissue paper on to the giant lanterns.

If you can help with this, email art.wintercarnival@gmail.com