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dandenong festival of lights 2016

HOT: Dandenong Festival of Lights, Dandenong Showgrounds, Greaves Reserve, Dandenong

My family doesn’t often tend to venture out after dark, but the Dandenong Festival of Lights earns “special event” billing for our family.

TheDandenong Festival of Lights is in its second year and is just as impressive in 2016, with new additions and improved set-up this year.

We arrive just after 6pm and Lightning, 5, is thrilled to see lights flashing before we even reach the illuminated gate.

dandenong festival of lights 2016

He and El Guapo, 2, are mesmerised within seconds. Everywhere we look there is light conquering the darkness. Fields of flowers, life-sized animals, Chinese dragons – the scale of the lanterns is truly startling.

The festival features hundreds of lanterns that use about 20,000 light globes and tens of thousands of metres of silk. Many of the lanterns showcase aspects of Chinese culture, including the animals of the Chinese zodiac and mythic beasts that fire up kids’ imaginations.

dandenong festival of lights 2016

There is a manageable crowd on the cold night we visit – this makes it really easy to get close to the lanterns and enjoy the little details that a quick look would not reveal. We eat dinner before we arrive to avoid any queues for food trucks but we could’ve easily eaten there.

dandenong festival of lights 2016

It is great fun to watch Lightning roam freely through the exhibits to pick his favourites. He loves the dinosaurs and penguins while El Guapo just basks in the literal glow of being out at night.

Find Hotels and Airbnbs near Greaves Reserve

dandenong festival of lights 2016

A lot of the lanterns are the same as last year’s but a different layout and some new inclusions mean it still feels fresh and fun.

The whole experience already has a kind of dream-like quality. If you’re already looking forward to Christmas lights, this will be right up your alley!

Thanks to journalist and mum Erika Jonsson for her guest post.

 HOT tips:

  • Pram-friendly
  • Suitable for young children
  • Suitable for older children
  • Food trucks on site
  • Remember, once daylight saving starts 2 October it will still be light at 6pm so if you have young children you might want to go before that date.
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Erika Jonsson is a communications specialist, former journalist and mother of two boys aged 5 and 9 years old. She lives in inner-city Melbourne and loves running, travel, cooking and reading.

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