Carnival FAQ's

When is the next event?
Saturday 26 June 2021 in the Octagon starting 5:00pm.

What is the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival all about?
It is a community celebration of the beauty of winter showcasing stunning hand crafted lanterns, dance and music within a spectacular street procession in Dunedin’s city centre. Our aim is to create celebrations that are relevant to our local community, environment and culture.

What happens, what’s the schedule?
Food stalls open from 4pm and there’s live music from 5:00pm. Savvy people arrive early to find a good viewing spot. The Carnival Procession starts at 6:00pm. This involves over 1,000 people carrying giant lanterns, amazing stilt performers, groups of dancers, drummers and lots of people carrying small lanterns they made at our workshops. The Procession lasts about 30-40 minutes. After the Procession there will be large projections, food stalls and live music. The event finishes at about 8:00pm.

Is there an admission fee?
We ask everyone to make a $5 donation either online beforehand or as they arrive to help cover event costs. This event is not run by the Dunedin City Council. It is run by Dunedin Midwinter Celebrations a small nonprofit charity that works hard to raise enough funds to produce the event each year. Funders do not meet all costs. We need all the support we can get so please be generous.

Why should I get there early?
Because there will be lots of people! Over 20,000 people attend each year. Get there early to hear live music, get something to eat or drink from the many food stalls and find a good viewing position.

How can children get to see?
There are many vantage points for the audience and the Carnival caters to all members of our community. To give children the best advantage, get there early and ask children to sit down along the edge of the curb. Adults should stand behind children and if you are tall please stand further back or crouch down at the front.

What is the route of the Procession?
The Procession starts from the grounds of First Church on Moray Place. It travels down to Lower Stuart Street, up to the Octagon, around the Octagon then along Princes Street and back to First Church along Moray Place. For safety please stay off the road at all times.

Will the roads be closed?
Yes. The Octagon and surrounding roads are closed including parts of Moray Place from 2:00pm on the day of the event until about 10:00pm.

What if the weather is bad?
The next day, Sunday, is the postponement day. Everything happens the same time and place. If the weather is still really bad then the event will be cancelled. Light rain or showers will not stop us but consistent rain and high winds are a major problem.

When will you make the weather decision and how can I find out?
This is normally made 24 hours in advance and posted on the Midwinter Carnival Facebook page and our website. The Breeze and other Mediaworks radio stations will broadcast updates on the day.

When and where are the Lantern Making Workshops?
These are held on the four weekends leading up to the Carnival date at various community halls. More information can be found on the workshops page of the website.

Where and when can I book into a workshop and how much does it cost?
A link will be posted to the workshops page. This will take you to an online booking form. The link will go live on 1 May 2021. There is a cost of $10 per lantern.

Who can go to a lantern workshop?
These are aimed at families and children but anyone can attend as long as you are available to carry your lantern in the Carnival Procession. We do not take group bookings and we are not available to take one-off workshops in the lead up to the Carnival event.

Who makes the giant lanterns and costumes?
The Carnival Art Team. This is a talented bunch of artists, sewers, prop makers and choreographers who spend months creating beautiful new artworks and costumes and performances.

What’s this year’s theme?
‘A Moonlit Garden’. Expect giant flowers, toadstools and magical creatures.

How can I get involved?
We love volunteers! In fact we couldn’t run the event without them. We need over 100 volunteers each year to help run the event. See our volunteer page for more information on the different roles and to sign up. Our Volunteer Coordinator can be contacted on

Who runs the event and who funds it?
The event is run by a registered charity called Dunedin Midwinter Celebrations. There is a board of trustees who provide governance in a voluntary capacity. The event is primarily funded by the Dunedin City Council with the generous support of a range of other funders and businesses. Please see our funders and sponsors page for more information.