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Huge fires draw people together into a communal huddle for warmth and comfort. There is that sense of camaraderie; the leaping flames as a communal focal point to ward off the longest night.
Such bonfires were a tradition when I was a kid and now that tradition returns. There are a growing number of communities now celebrating the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year with huge, glowing communal fires.
This is a towering sculptural bonfire, shown above. This year the event is in Matcham's Paddock making it more intimate than in previous years. Plenty of room to spread your picnic blanket. Or there will be great food trucks on site. You can stand by the roaring fire and drink mulled wine. Expect live music, delicious food, a spectacular kids' lantern parade (make one at home or available for purchase) and fire entertainers. This popular event is in its fifth year. While you can bring your own food you cannot bring in alcohol. There is a wine and beer stall however. Rain, hail or shine this event goes ahead.
Eltham is a creative haven, thirty-five minutes from central Melbourne, at the entrance of the Yarra Valley. Adults are $20 but there are family packages available. Click here.
Gates open at 3pm for the event. For more information and for the full program click here.
While the 18th is booked out there are still spots for the 25th of June.
Here is a video of one of Eltham's previous bonfire celebrations.
Photo Credit: CERES Facebook photographer Marisa
Lots of ways to warm up at CERES in Brunswick. Warm food for your tummy prepared by Tamil Feasts, Original Chai Co., Smartball and the Merri Table. There is lantern making to warm the cockles of your heart and a huge fire to warm your body while your fingers linger over the warmth as you clutch your mulled wine. The program for Saturday 25th is below:
4:30pm: Music, food stalls, lantern making workshop
6:00pm: Ritual, lantern parade
6:30pm: Lighting of the ceremonial fire
7:00pm: Fire twirling performances, music & food
Ticket price includes live music, performances, craft activity and a ceremonial fire.
This year the Collingwood Children's Farm will be held on the Saturday night which is on the 18th of June. As always this is a childcentric event with a storytime between 4.45 and 5.45. This is followed by wandering minstrels and giant lanterns. There will be food stalls and a mulled wine bar open from 4.30–8.00pm. You can then enjoy the drummers and fire twirlers from 5.45–6.20pm. Glow sticks not allowed.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Collingwood Childrens Farm
Prices Family Ticket $24.00
Concession Family $16.00
Concession Adult $8.00
Concession Child $3.00
plus 30c booking fee
Tickets are limited due to paddock capacity and sold on a first come basis
18 St Heliers Street Abbotsford. Phone 9417 5806 for more info.
Tickets sell out fast. You can book here.
This year marks the 10th annual Belgrave Lantern Parade. This event is not about bonfires but rather about the making and displaying of beautiful lanterns. This year the event is on Saturday June 18th. Anyone walking the parade needs to be illuminated by carrying a lantern. This makes for a beautiful site.
They have lots of great workshops where you and the kids can make your own lanterns which are worth looking into. Most are at Belgrave Library leading up to June 18th. All the dates and booking information are their website or phone the library on 9800 6489.
The lantern night starts with activities from 4pm. The parade starts at 5:30pm from Hayes Car Park.
Brunswick South Primary School
For a charming event try the winter solstice celebrations at Brunswick South Primary School on Saturday 18 June 2016 5-9pm billed as a "Once Upon A Time" experience for families and community. This will light up a few faces. Your family will find bonfires, building illuminations, a gorgeous lantern parade, fire-twirlers, hula hoopers, DJ Double Dutch, Aria winner Monique Brumby and Band, food vans, kids food, a bar, Eureka Coffee and Green Man Face Painting. Fun for all.
Brunswick South Primary
56 Brunswick Road
Why does everything in Melbourne cost so darn much? Charging $20 a head for a bonfire? I've lived all over the world and I've never seen anything like it. The Brunswick primary celebration is the cheapest - $10 per adult - but it's an hour drive from me.