Thursday, December 21, 2017

Red Pepper celebrates the Winter Solstice

On the longest night we welcome the first day of winter and Red Pepper Spectacle Arts lives up to their name with an incredible night planned for December 21, 2017 in Kensington Market. The tilt of the earth has reduced the available sunlight on this annual occurrence and people around the world have recognized the changing seasons with a number of ceremonies, including very early pagan festivals.
Known as midwinter, the solstice brings hundreds of people into the market neighbourhood to 'Ignite the longest darkest night; and 'celebrate the return of warmth and light in the heart of Kensington Market'. Of course we are really just heading into the beginning of winter and won't begin to feel the heat of the sun until March and April of 2018 - but we can still dream of the spring to come.

The non-profit Red Pepper sells lanterns for $15 from 5-6:30pm at 260 Augusta Avenue, then the crowd gathers together at Oxford and Augusta for a performance by fire artists at 6:30pm. Then the parade heads out with assorted characters, bands and musicians leading the way out of the market starting at 7:00pm.

Finally the parade comes to Alexandra Park, located at Dundas and Spadina, where they make their way to the ball diamond which is roped off for safety. All the characters and fire artists come into the space and put on an amazing display of juggling and flame throwing - belching mouthfuls of fuel which ignites into giant fireballs. They use these fireballs to light the main sculpture which is a centerpiece to the celebration. As it goes up in flames the dancers and fire show continues into the night.
Watch the sculpture burn

See more photos of the celebration after the jump.

The flame sculpture was a giant bird spreading its wings

"The 28th Annual Winter Solstice Parade lights the longest night of the year with the community participating with hand-made lanterns, on route scenarios of shadow play, rooftop masking antics, giant puppets, stilted dancers and eclectic musical accompaniment. All are illuminated by the glow of fire breathers, spinners and Fire Finale Performance in Alexandra Park in Toronto. We need your support to make this event a success!"

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