– Ryde’s ‘Merry and Bright’ 2023: A Spectacular Celebration for All

Friday 8th and Saturday 9th December

The enchanting town of Ryde is set to come alive with the magic of the holiday season as New Carnivals “Ryde Merry and Bright’, a free event, returns. This year it will be a two-day extravaganza, promising an incredible experience for families, friends, and visitors of all ages.

The festivities and late-night shopping, commence on Friday, December 8th, with the lantern parade from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere that sets the tone for the entire weekend. This year the polar express train will be making its way through Ryde, riding on the success of the Southwest trains, New Carnival, and Vivas project ‘A Railway by the Sea’ celebrating the Island line and its coastal communities.  Residents and visitors alike are invited to join this dazzling procession- bring your lantern and meet near Aspire, at the top of Dover Street for 5.45pm, where the streets will be illuminated with the warm glow of lanterns, spreading cheer and unity. The parade will go along Star Street, down the High Street and Union Street, finishing at Western gardens.

As the sun sets, Ryde will be transformed into a magical wonderland with an array of static illuminations that will light up the night. Interactive artworks and captivating installations will adorn the town, providing a truly immersive experience for attendees. Don’t miss the amazing displays at Vernon square where the ‘land meets the sea’, and St Thomas’ rest ‘Neon Gardens’. You’ll find delightful surprises around every corner around the town, pop-up performances, music, and artworks. Performers include Mila Lake, star from ITV’s the Voice, Jay Eatwell from Channel 4’s ‘The Piano’, Glow Circus Ariel hoop show, Wyldfire group’s fire show, Huxley Magic, The Rug Band, Abbey Brass, Vectis Brass band, Em Johnson, Cara Goodrum, The Ryde Choir, The Christmas Bells, 432 Nomads, and many more. Emerging local talent is given a platform, the IW colleges performing arts students and Aspire’s Creative Hub young people will bring energy and joy.

New Carnival has been lucky to receive some funding from the Hornpipe trust, Portsmouth Guildhall, to undertake a digital art project, and arts award, with young people. Their artworks will be projected onto St Thomas church, expertly mapped, and put together by Light Art Creatives from Bournemouth. The young people will research digital art and artists finding out about this medium and the creative and career opportunities it presents.

Hannah Ray director of New Carnival says:

‘This is a dream come true, we have been wanting to put up some digital projections at Merry and Bright for a few years. I can’t wait to see the young people’s artworks on display on such a grand scale in the middle of town.’

Ryde’s ‘Merry and Bright’ 2023 is not just about visuals and sounds—it’s an event designed for everyone in the family. Family-friendly activities will keep the kids engaged and excited, creating a memorable experience for all. Whether it’s participating in craft workshops, trying out some circus skills, indulging in festive treats, visiting santa, chasing the grinch, looking for elves, or simply strolling through the enchanting streets, there’s something for everyone.

Everyone is welcome to join in the celebration of community, togetherness, and the spirit of the holiday season. This inclusivity has been at the heart of Ryde’s annual event for years, and it continues to be a beacon of unity for the entire community. New Carnival, an Arts Council National portfolio Organisation, work in partnership with Ryde Town Council, Ryde Business association and many other local groups to put together this unique event.

Mark your calendars for Friday, December 8th, and Saturday, December 9th, and be prepared to be enchanted by the magic of “Ryde’s ‘Merry and Bright’ 2023.” It promises to light up the town and your hearts, ensuring that the holiday season is truly ‘Merry and Bright’ for all.

Community lantern workshops in Ryde on Sat 26th Nov 11am-2pm and in Brading on Sat 2nd December 11am-2pm are available for those who wish to make a lantern. Get in contact with New Carnival to book your place. Several local schools are involved, and the carnival associations will also be out for this winter parade.

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