Over a year in the making, the first Cheriton Light Festival is ready for the big switch-on, and it looks set to be a feast for all the senses.
A small corner of the county is to undergo a big transformation this weekend.
Arts organisation Strange Cargo will be using light and fire to illuminate the streets of Cheriton near Folkestone over two consecutive nights.
The Cheriton Light Festival starts on Saturday, February 23, with more than 15 spectacular light-based artwork installations displayed in its centre for everyone to enjoy – for free.
Renowned projection artist Ross Ashton, responsible for some of the most iconic lighting projections in recent years including the Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace, will be illuminating All Souls Church with a spectacular projection and light show, with an accompanying sound installation by Karen Monid.
Rising Giant, a collaboration between several artists including Greg Stobbs and Kevin Francis, will see a specially commissioned animation projected on to the side of Taylors Pharmacy, while Strange Cargo, in collaboration with Step Short, has created a visual artwork using some of the 42,000 signatures gathered from young soldiers as they left for France during the First World War, which will be projected on to the Baptist Church in the High Street.
Crowds in Cheriton High Street will also be able to delight at the arrival of a spectacular mechanical firefly with a five metre wingspan, created by Andrew Baldwin, which will cruise along the road.
Brigitte Orasinski, artistic director for the Folkestone-based Strange Cargo, said: “As well as being a visual spectacle we want this to be a participatory event for all the family. Children will love chasing Tine Bech’s spotlight piece around the pavement, aptly named Catch Me Now, and those feeling the cold can hop on to one of Wheely Groovy’s bicycles and help generate the power to run their pedal powered cinema.”
Then on Sunday, February 24, there will be fire and drums to set the heart racing.
For the past few weeks, Strange Cargo has held lantern workshops at schools and colleges, and they will be included in a beautiful candlelit parade through the town.
More than 300 lanterns are expected to wind through the High Street to Cheriton Recreation Ground, where the parade will culminate in a bonfire sculpture, in the form of a phoenix, and firework display, all set to the mesmerizing rhythms of international drumming bands Batala and Bloco Fogo.
The festival is the latest instalment of Strange Cargo’s Cheriton Artland programme, aimed at encouraging community involvement through the arts.
Ms Orasinski added: “It is very exciting. We have had a workshop in Cheriton for the past 10 years, so we know the area well.
“This festival has been over a year in the making, and we hope people will take advantage of the opportunity to be able to wander around and experience art on their doorstep.”
Saturday, February 23
Where: Cheriton High Street
What: More than 15 different artworks will be on display illuminating the streets
Sunday, February 24
Where: Cheriton High Street & Recreation Ground
What: A parade of hundreds of lanterns through the town centre, culminating at the park with the burning of a giant Phoenix bonfire sculpture and firework display set to the rhythms of international drumming bands Batala and Bloco Fogo.
Visit www.strangecargo.org.uk for information.