Covered Market hosts lanterns created by residents for Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival

Published: Friday, 18th December 2020

Oxford Covered Market is hosting a display of lanterns that were created by residents from across the city for Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival.

It is estimated that 643 lanterns were made this year and displayed in a vast array of local areas across Oxford. This new version of the parade resulted in more people being able to take part than ever before.

The display in the Covered Market will be up until the start of the New Year.

Christmas creations

Every year Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival normally holds a parade of lanterns – created by schoolchildren from across Oxford – through the city centre in November.

But, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, this was unable to take place this year.

Instead, the Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival teamed up with Fusion Arts to run online lantern making workshops and supplied lantern making kits to help people make their own lanterns from home – and display them in their windows and front gardens for their neighbours over the course of one weekend in November.

In the Florence Park area of Oxford, Flofest and Florence Park Community Centre came together to create “Finding the Light” as part of this years Oxford Christmas Light Festival. They enjoyed a response of more than 50 households taking part in their area alone. 

Covered Market display

To help more people see the creations, the City Council collaborated with Fusion Arts and Flofest to invite participants to contribute their creations to the Covered Market’s installation. Flofest also helped extensively to provide a fantastic setting for the lanterns to be seen in the market in all their glory.

There are now more than 30 lanterns on display in the unit by the Golden Cross entrance. As well as contributions from Florence Park, submissions also came from East Oxford Primary School, Cutteslowe Primary, Western Road and Brook Street Lights Festival, Grandpont and Headington.

The largest of the lanterns are two huge white flower faces, which were donated by Flofest and created from a team effort by artist Paul Batten and families from Florence Park.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to provide an extra opportunity to bring a wonderful selection of the lanterns that were seen across Oxford’s local communities into the city centre for even more people to enjoy.”
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for City Centre, Covered Market and Culture

“Fusion Arts is super excited about the Covered Market offering to display lanterns in the heart of the city, and in what traditionally would have been our starting point for the famous Lantern Parade.

With the parade being cancelled, and struggling with ever-changing restrictions, it was an extraordinary opportunity for us to move this year's Oxford's Christmas Light Festival into people’s kitchens, neighbourhoods, schoolyards and local communities.

We are happy we were able to support our local artists, while connecting communities, families and individuals to create something bright and great together once again.”
Fusion Arts

The festival this year was funded by Oxford City Council and Arts Council England and was sponsored by Oxford Business Park.