A visit to Hahndorf’s charming township is enough to warm the cockles of your heart this winter. If you need another reason to head to the Hills haven, Winter Lantern Festival is it. The poetry-themed festival held at the Hahndorf Academy is set to make the town sparkle on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 August - a community event that can’t be missed.
On Opening Night (Friday), the Hahndorf Memorial Institute will host The Heysen Ensemble, a six-piece local chamber music group to mark the beginning of the festival. With only 200 seats available for this concert, be sure to snap up a ticket fast.
On Saturday, enjoy festive food stalls and an abundance of kid’s activities from 2pm to 8.30pm, as well as live poetry readings. This year, the festival features an inaugural poetry prize, shining a spotlight on the local Shakespeare’s and wordsmiths of the Adelaide Hills.
Experience the lush gardens of the Hahndorf Academy transformed into a vibrant home for art and craft activities, mural workshops, shadow puppetry and wondrous displays of roaring fire.
It’s not just the Academy that lights up during this vibrant festival, but the whole town. The main event is a candlelit parade which sees local school children and community members meander down the main street with their handcrafted lanterns. Held at 6pm on Saturday night, the parade concludes at the Academy, where the lanterns are put on show.
Immerse yourself in the incredible community atmosphere throughout the parade and at the finish line. If you stick around after dark, watch in awe as artfully constructed fire murals are ignited from 8pm.
While you’re visiting for the festival, make sure to explore the SALA exhibitions on show inside Hahndorf Academy. A regional centre for the arts and heritage, The Hahndorf Academy is known for hosting some of the Hill’s favourite cultural events. It’s no surprise they’ll also be showing several exhibitions for the SALA Festival. Look out for iconic works the likes of Hans Kreiner’s ‘Isthmus’, Beverley Southcott’s ‘Energy Matters’, and Hugh Freytag’s ‘Places and Spaces 2018’.
If you’re looking to experience Hahndorf through the eyes of a local, Sharon Pippos from Hahndorf Walking Tours, a passionate resident of South Australia’s famous German village, will be running guided walking tours specifically for the Winter Lantern Festival.
You can make your own apple strudel (just like Oma used to make) and tour the village while it bakes in the oven. Explore the ‘fachwerk’ architecture and significant historic sites of Hahndorf, and hear fascinating stories of the town’s inception and its pioneering women.
After you’ve devoured your delicious traditional pastry, Sharon will take you back towards the heart of the Winter Lantern Festival, before it all kicks off.
With plenty of accommodation nearby, there’s no excuse to rush home. See our guide to accommodation here.
Whether you’re down for the day or the whole weekend, discovering Hahndorf for the first time or a regular visitor, the Winter Lantern Festival gives everyone the opportunity to experience the incredible creativity and community spirit of this unique region.
We’ll see you there.