Your first glimpse of Enlighten Festival 2020 | HerCanberra

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Your first glimpse of Enlighten Festival 2020

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Ready, set, Enlighten! We have the goss on what you can look forward to at this year’s festival—there’s never been a better time to #holidayherecbr

Hot off the press, details have been released about this year’s Enlighten Festival 2020, with what Canberrans can look forward to seeing, eating and snapping across 28 February–15 March.


Image: Martin Ollman.

The Night Noodle Markets are back once more and this year they’ve extended dates so you can sample more street food deliciousness than ever before.

We’re talking Insta-worthy dishes from local and interstate food trucks with everything from teppanyaki to bao to mochi donuts (!) to dim sum and everything in between. Yum.

Get all the goss here.


Enlighten. Credit: Martin Ollman for VisitCanberra.

Obviously Enlighten Festival is allll about the visuals, and this year won’t disappoint.

Take a wander through the Neon Night Garden, a touchable and interactive neon installation of things you might find in a garden or take a photo in the Neon Archway (Instagram eat your heart out) before strolling over to Bloom—an epic landscape of giant gum nuts and gum nut flowers.

Chromatica will be beloved by little ones, with a 6.7m long take on the classic childhood kaleidoscope. Small folk will also love playing the Light Chimes—bespoke touch boards that produce a sonic cloud of notes like a wind chime.

VisitCanberra says that for the most insta-worthy installations, you’ll need to check the big, ’80s-themed Monsters Love You! (But might eat you…), and Sal the Snail, a 4m tall neon inflatable snail.

This, is in addition to Enlighten’s iconic ‘Illuminations’, will bring our buildings to life for the entire duration of the festival (28 February – 9 March).

The perfect way to explore Canberra after dark and take advantage of the slightly cooler weather, this year the Illuminations will be projected onto the National Portrait Gallery, National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Australian Parliament House, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, and Questacon.

Visitors can look forward to enjoying local food and beverages as Enlighten Alley and the Bentspoke Beer Garden return to serve up some favourites on the local hospitality scene

As always, roving entertainment, art installations and live music with free and ticketed events will take place alongside the Illuminations around the Parliamentary Triangle.


Image: Martin Ollman

Some of our most iconic Canberran experiences happen during Enlighten Festival.

Float above it all across nine mornings during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (7-15 March) as more than 20 hot air balloons take to the skies.

Watch short films from locals at Lights! Canberra! Action (6 March), bask in live classic music at Symphony in the Park (8 March) and celebrate our city on Canberra Day (9 March) which will have a new base in the Parliamentary Triangle.


Credit: Martin Ollman.

A visit to the Enlighten Festival is also the perfect way to support Canberra’s tourism industry which has been impacted by bushfires and smoke haze. ‘Holiday Here’ is the message behind a VisitCanberra social media campaign #holidayhereCBR—encouraging locals to explore their city and support local businesses who have been feeling a downturn due to this summer’s conditions.

With about one in 20 Canberrans employed by a tourism business, most of our community is feeling the impact of this devastating fire season in some way.

Canberrans can help by exploring sides to the city they’ve never come across before, ticking off a bucket list item, booking a staycation or visiting a local attraction or event.


Across the city, Canberra’s attractions will be participating in the festivities with a range of fun and informative initiatives at the Canberra Glassworks, National Archives of Australia, National Electoral Education Centre, National Zoo & Aquarium and the National Film and Sound Archive. Stay tuned for more details soon.

the essentials 

What: Enlighten Festival
When: Friday 28 February until Sunday 15 March
Where: Various locations across Canberra
Enlighten Festival 2020 program and ticketing information can be found at

Feature image: Carla O’Brien

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