2014: The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. on December 21... and you're in it!
For the last 25 years, on the night of December 21, through the Kensington Market, cars have given way to pedestrians and to the joyous parade engulfing stunned passers-by. This is one funky event, formerly called Kensington Festival of Lights. We're not talking about standard, tiny Christmas lights. The festival is referring to the lights of sun and fire, symbolic or genuine: Hanukkah candles, the fire of Christian faith, the pagan celebration of the solstice. Take your pick. And it's not a parade that people watch passively. We are the parade and move along the course where several attractions await. Playful families hold elaborate lanterns dancing over the crowd (you can borrow them at the starting point of the parade). They usually offer lantern workshops in the weeks prior to the event, check their website for exact dates.
The starting point is at Oxford and Augusta. The whole affair used to end in Bellevue Square but it now ends at Alexandra Park where a giant sculpture is burned with cries of joy. The ambience is unique, and the kids get it! The ever creative Red Pepper Theatre is behind this event.