Head to Melbourne’s vibrant westside this September to experience the largest Lantern Festival in Victoria.
Sunshine Lantern Festival
An annual spectacular in the heart of the west, the Sunshine Lantern Festival celebrates the culturally diverse community of Melbourne’s neighbourhoods. This much-loved traditional event has evolved into one that brings the whole community of different backgrounds and cultures together for a day of fun with a giant street parade and of course, lanterns!
Throughout the day there’ll be live entertainment, carnival rides, roving street performers, multicultural music and kids’ activities, indigenous craft, foods of many nations, animals, dancing, drumming and much more.
To finish off the festivities of the day, the crowd is invited to participate in the Lantern Parade, ending with spectacular fireworks.
- Aboriginal artist Mick Tambo (Australia’s Got Talent 2019 and Triple J Unearthed) performing a unique Indigenous experience.
- Vietnamese cultural Legend of the Moon performance featuring International Vietnamese Artist – Y Thanh.
- TV personality Chris Humfrey bringing a Wild Action stage show where kids can get up close with Australian native animals.
- Afro-fusion band One Spirt Africa to perform a drumming and dance performance.
- Phi & Me star Diana Nguyen on stage acting her latest comedy film.
- Lots of street performers and stiltwalkers including The Great Gizmo and The Luna Moonies.
- ‘HAMPSHIRE SQUARE’ VIP food space will return for 2019 – offering visitors a sustainable option and fabulous variety of Vietnamese food all for only $20.
- A vibrant and energetic Lion and Dragon dance complete with a long string of fireworks will take place along the Hampshire Road shopfronts leading the parade of children with their lanterns and their following families.
Last year nearly 55,000 people came to enjoy the vibrant multicultural festival and support the local businesses of Sunshine. From humble beginnings back in 2009, it is now one of the biggest one-day community festivals in the west and the largest Lantern Festival in Victoria.
The Sunshine Lantern Parade is a free cultural community event staged and presented by the Sunshine Business Association, supported by Brimbank City Council and Multicultural Victoria.
Sunday 15 September 2019, 11am to 8pm
Hampshire Road Sunshine Shopping Precinct
For more information on the festival head to sunshinebusiness.com.au
Arts and Culture in Brimbank
Home to one of the most diverse populations in Melbourne, Sunshine (and its surrounds) is a hub of cultural activity with a variety of creative arts and performance programs as well as community projects, public art and cultural events.
If visiting for the Lantern Festival, be sure to stay the whole weekend and add one or more of these spots to your visit while you’re here:
Sunshine Art Spaces – Sitting within the Sunshine Town Centre and home to local resident artists and a drop-in gallery, a fantastic multi-functional space that exhibits several shows of emerging artists each year. There’s also numerous public mural art to explore in the centre.
2 City Pl, Sunshine
Man Lifting Cow – Taking pride of place on Hampshire Road in Sunshine, Man Lifting Cow is an impressive six metre bronze sculpture by renowned Australian artist John Kelly. Kelly donated his time to the project as a legacy to his time spent growing up in Sunshine. In Australia, Kelly is best known for his paintings and large sculptures that reference William Dobell’s papier-mâché cows created in WWII. Kelly’s sculptures of these cows have been exhibited in prominent locations around the world including on the Champs Elysées, Paris; in Monte Carlo; The Hague; Glastonbury and Cork.
304 Hampshire Road, Sunshine
Sunshine Print Artspace – A non-profit creative workshop and custom printmaking studio run by passionate volunteers . It’s an artist hub where printmakers gather to foster and nurture their creative flow. Regular open events invite the community to see and learn various printmaking techniques including screen printing, etching, lino printing, and block printing.
29 Western Ave, Sunshine
Hunt Club Arts Centre – Offers an ongoing exhibition program plus a range of spaces for meetings, classes and workshops. Discover the fascinating history of this building which dates back to 1886 and originally served as a hunt club (for Melbourne’s deer hunters), before becoming an explosives and chemical plant (during World War II), then a laboratory before being turned into a Community and Arts Centre in the 1980’s.
775 Ballarat Rd, Deer Park
The Bowery Theatre – A place where art is celebrated, ideas discussed, arts and cultural education explored and bold entertainment experienced. The Bowery Theatre and St Albans Community Centre has an extensive program of performance events and exhibitions including local artists, theatre, music, dance, talks, workshops and more. The Bowery Theatre recognises the late Leigh Bowery who was born and raised in the West and went on to become one of the most influential international arts figures of the 80s and 90s.
309C Main Rd E, St Albans
Where to eat and drink
Such great cultural diversity brings many authentic cuisines to the local hotlist. Head to Sunshine with an empty stomach and explore the generous range of foodie options. From the best Vietnamese pho and banh mi, Chinese yum cha people queue for, Sri Lankan, Persian, Japanese, African, Turkish, Cambodian and plenty more. Perhaps prepare to be heavy on the chilli, and you won’t be disappointed! Below are just some of the hot spots to choose from.
Café Sunshine and SalamaTea – Opened in August 2019, this is a Café by day and Persian Restaurant by night. The café employs and supports refugees and asylum seekers, and is a friendly community spot to grab a quick traditional Persian snack.
21 Dickson St, Sunshine
Thuan An – South East Vietnamese fusion. Be sure to try the signature dishes of Thuan An such as Crispy Skin Chicken and Goat Curry, both of which use locally sourced and wholesome Australian meat.
253 Hampshire Rd, Sunshine
Gold Leaf Yum Cha – Discover authentic Cantonese dim sum, steaming hot claypots and seafood fresh from the tank. This is one spot where there’s always a line up out the door.
491 Ballarat Rd, Sunshine
Pho Hien Saigon – Serving fresh traditional style Vietnamese food. From noodle soups, rice and rice vermicelli dishes. Locals will tell you it’s the best pho in Melbourne.
3/284 Hampshire Rd, Sunshine
Gojo Café – Serving authentic Ethiopian coffee and cuisine – including a wide selection of vegetarian dishes.
2A Clarke St, Sunshine
Sunshine Social – Local produce cooked over smoking hot charcoal. Head to Sunshine Social for a laid back atmosphere, local wine, craft beer and cider, an outdoor area with a cubby house for the kids and of course, delicious charcoal-roasted chicken!
64 Glengala rd, Sunshine West
Latin Foods and Wines – Known for producing the best empanadas in Melbourne, this South American food store has been a strong contender in the west for more than 20 years. Specialising in empanadas, wines, pisco, traditional breads, sweets, deli smallgoods, sandwiches de miga and various imported products from around South America. It also stocks a variety of Chilean/Argentina Wines, pisco and beer. 809 Ballarat Rd, Deer Park
Images: Thuan An, Sunshine