Saturday, 19 June 2010

solstice celebration


For the last few years we have celebrated the winter solstice with baking, lantern making and dinner at my parents house. This year we decided to do something different.

ready to go...

The Collingwood Children's Farm have a massive bonfire each year to celebrate the solstice, and they have food stalls, a giant lantern walk, fire performers and, of course, the bonfire. We decided this year that Angus and Daisy are at an age where this experience would be quite magical.

the best food stand!

As we hadn't been before we didn't really know what to expect, but soon after arriving we realised that a waterproof-picnic-blanket would have been a very good idea. Then Cam mentioned that there was the blue plastic tarp in the back of our car {which I had packed up neatly after easter holidays and stowed in there, then forgotten about} so while he headed back to the car, we made our way to the hot chocolate stand then bagged ourselves a good spot by the fence where we could see the fire {when they finally lit it} and more importantly, the fire performers.

wood fire pizza for dinner


The fire performers were excellent, and really funny and friendly with the children. At one point the lady above, after swallowing her stick of fire, turned around to the wide-eyed gaggle of children watching her and assured them "don't worry, it's not really real"... she then proceeded to hold her hands in the other stick of fire that she was holding "see it's not real!"


It was so cool to be able to see someone actually doing the fire-hooping ~ such a visual feast, and of course I have such as appreciation of the skill involved after my little dabble in normal hooping!


... but this guy above, I really think that this was the pinnacle for the kids. They were all hanging off the fence, through the fence, up the tree(!) and then this guy comes out with a fire stick burning at each end, whirling and twirling, and then every time he threw it straight up in the air, each end would go "whoooof" and a big ball of flame leapt up. Very exciting.


One thing that I thought that we would do was the giant lantern walk, and it really did look spectacular with the scarlet lady leading the way, and then as the night descended the giant lanterns really glowed, but, my kids were just not interested at all. So I think that we'll save that one for next year...

scarlet lady... leading the lantern walk

giant lantern

Then as the dark finally closed in, and the thrum of the crowd reached it's peak, the drummers adding to the frenzied festival feel, the lights, the fire, the smell... finally, finally, they doused the massive pile of wood with much accelerant and...

big bonfire...

lit it!

It was spectacular, with sparkes and flames roaring high into the night sky.

We stayed for a little longer until the fire settled, then we wended our way out through the crowd to our peaceful little car, and headed home for baths and bed. Lights in their eyes, reliving the excitement and the sites. This is exactly the thing that traditions and childhood memories are made of.