The countdown to the Enlighten Festival is on!
Illuminating Canberra for its eighth year in a row, the Enlighten Festival is back in 2018 and it’s bigger and brighter than ever before, with an extended program of free and ticketed events and activities, plus two new and exciting events precincts – Canberra city and the Australian National University (ANU).
On from the 2nd to the 18th of March, in addition to the Enlighten Illuminations and exploring the new Enlighten precincts, the festival has been extended to include some of Canberra’s most popular autumn events – the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, Symphony in the Park, Lights! Canberra! Action! Canberra Day and Hit 104.7 Skyfire.
With so much going on, it is hard to decide what to see, so I have scrutinised the program and have come up with the Top 10 not-to-be-missed events:
1. The Enlighten Illuminations
Stunning large-scale architectural projections and installations that transform some of the capital’s most loved and iconic buildings.
Dates: 2 – 11 March
Projections from 8 pm till 11 pm
Location: Parliamentary Triangle
2. ANU Enlighten Minds
The ANU campus will come to life over five nights with vibrant projections, fire-side chats, and a special Saturday night market.
Dates: 8, 9, 10, 15 & 16 March
Location: The Australian National University
3. See the City in a New Light
See fairy lights, and find hidden gems in the city’s nooks and crannies but you will have to follow @CityRenewalCanberra on social media to discover where the city lights will pop up during Enlighten Festival.
Date: 2 – 11 March
Location: Popping up in the city
4. Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Wake up to the view of hot air balloons floating across the city. More than thirty hot air balloons from across the globe are expected to take to our skies this autumn.
Date: 10 – 18 March
From 6:15 am
Location: Lawns of Old Parliament House
5. Symphony in the Park
Sit back and relax as the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by Queen tribute band, Killer Queen Experience, bring the work of the well-known band to life.
Date: 11 March
From 7 pm
Location: Stage 88, Commonwealth Park
6. Lights! Canberra! Action!
A piece of Hollywood returns to Enlighten as this film-making festival prepares to amaze audiences.
Filmmakers are given a list of ten items to include in their short film, exploring the theme of Enlighten: strange, beautiful and unexpected. The screening of the top twelve finalists will be featured on the night.
Date: 9 March
Films screening from 8 pm
Location: Senate Rose Gardens, Museum of Australian Democracy
7. Canberra Day
Canberra is turning 105 this year! Join in the celebrations with a program bursting at the seams with live music and entertainment for all.
Date: 12 March
2 pm – 7 pm
Location: Commonwealth Park
8. Hit 104.7 Skyfire
The classic fireworks show returns for its 30th year and closes the Enlighten Festival for 2018. Look to the sky to take in a dazzling display of aerial acrobatics and spectacular fireworks set to a soundtrack simultaneously broadcast on Hit 104.7.
Date: 17 March
6 pm onwards (fireworks at 8:30 pm)
Location: Regatta Point
9. Enlighten Night Noodle Markets
The food and drink precinct featuring authentic Asian eats, from dumplings to dosa, Pad Thai to gyoza along with bespoke dessert and a delicious drink (or two!).
Dates: 2 – 11 March
Weekdays from 5 pm
Weekends from 4 pm
Location: Reconciliation Place
10. National Library of Australia
Celebrating 50 years with a 60s themed party! The Library will explode in a far-out festival of sound, colour, and activity to celebrate 50 swingin’ years since the building opened.
Bring the family on Friday nights for 60s music and dance. Twist and shout at the kids’ disco, and get creative at one of the art and craft stations. Or swing by on Saturday nights for an outta-sight party, with the best of local musical talent performing some of your favourite 60s tunes.
Dates: 2 & 9 March
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
3 & 10 March
7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Location: National Library of Australia