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Festival of light attracts the crowds as town gathers to celebrate change in seasons

PUBLISHED: 11:21 22 February 2018

Evie Wood with a lantern at Halesworth library ready for the Winter Light Festival 2018.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Evie Wood with a lantern at Halesworth library ready for the Winter Light Festival 2018. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

It is a popular festival which sees the community come together to celebrate the change in seasons.

Youngsters make lanterns at Halesworth library for the Winter Light Festival 2018.
Picture: Nick Butcher Youngsters make lanterns at Halesworth library for the Winter Light Festival 2018. Picture: Nick Butcher

And a market town was illuminated with light and song as a “spectacular” event was hailed a huge success.

The WinterLight! Festival was held in Halesworth last Saturday, February 17, to enjoy the darkness of winter and celebrate the coming of the light of spring.

Winterlight! – a collaboration between the town’s library, Halesworth Millennium Green and the Oxblood Mollies traditional dance troupe – brought more than 120 people together at the weekend.

Youngsters make lanterns at Halesworth library for the Winter Light Festival 2018.
Picture: Nick Butcher Youngsters make lanterns at Halesworth library for the Winter Light Festival 2018. Picture: Nick Butcher

After lanterns were made at Halesworth Library a few days before the celebration, the Mollies led a lantern-lit procession from the library through Halesworth and the Town Park into the Millennium Green.

After arriving at a mystery destination, there was lantern-lit story-telling, fires and a final magical event.

Speaking on behalf of the WinterLight! Festival, Sal Jenkinson, a trustee of Halesworth Millennium Green, said: “The event was a huge success.

Oxblood Mollies dancing in Halesworth. Pictures: Courtesy of Winterlight! Oxblood Mollies dancing in Halesworth. Pictures: Courtesy of Winterlight!

“This was the third year of the festival and from 40 people attending in 2016 there were 120 people this year – many of them small children. It was fantastic.”

With the crowds entertained by the Legend of the Howl of Alesworth, as told by the Firechicken, Ms Jenkinson said: “The grand finale of the tale was the raising of a 7ft lit-up owl, made and operated by Halesworth Millennium Green volunteers.

“This owl, whose head mournfully moved from side to side to show that she had still not found her missing egg, was finally reunited with it as the children took an active part in the magic chants to made the spells work.”

The 2018 Winterlight Festival in Halesworth. Photo: Alison Britton The 2018 Winterlight Festival in Halesworth. Photo: Alison Britton

Explaining the background to the festival, Ms Jenkinson said: “Because winter dark days can be dreary, the WinterLight! Festival uses the darkness to make mystery and fun.

“It just worked really, really well this year, with the three community organisations all working so well together. We had a huge number turning up at the library during half term, with lots and lots of children making lanterns,

“Halesworth Library are wonderful, they are so community minded.”

The 2018 Winterlight Festival in Halesworth. Photo: Alison Britton The 2018 Winterlight Festival in Halesworth. Photo: Alison Britton

The 2018 Winterlight Festival in Halesworth. Photo: Alison Britton The 2018 Winterlight Festival in Halesworth. Photo: Alison Britton

The 2018 Winterlight Festival in Halesworth. Photo: Alison Britton The 2018 Winterlight Festival in Halesworth. Photo: Alison Britton

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