Designer reveals what to expect at Christmas Wonderland

There will be plenty of surprises – large and small – when the gates open to Christmas Wonderland in Nerima Gardens at Queens Park tonight...
13 Dec 2019
Discover Ipswich, Staff Writer

Experienced designer Sharon Penny was brought on board this year to dial up the wonder for the signature event of Ipswich City Council’s Christmas in Ipswich celebrations.

Ms Penny said with 50,000 lights – more than double last year – installed in Nerima Gardens this year, visitors can expect to be wowed.

“We’ve worked really hard to create a journey of discovery whereby visitors can immerse themselves in an experiential night of lights, colours and mesmerising effects,” she said.

Ms Penny said careful consideration had been given to the feel of the Japanese-style gardens and how to work with the natural environment.

“I spent many mornings sitting and contemplating within the gardens. I would take in every plant and tree and note the shape of the landscape,” she said.

“I’d consider the possibilities of working with the plant shapes and the reflective qualities of the garden pond.”

The result is a space filled with layers of detail and surprises that will unfold as visitors move around Nerima Gardens.

“There will be discoveries, conversation pieces and photo moments. I’ve aimed to build long-lasting memories for people who come and share in this special, captivating experience,” Ms Penny said.

While she is excited about all the elements of this year’s display, Ms Penny said if she had to choose one as a favourite it would be the warmly-lit 250 floating origami boats.

“There is a peace in this installation that resonates with me, bringing a sense of calm and reverence for the wonder this time of year represents,” she said.

“Personally, I have fallen in love with Nerima gardens and I hope that others too will be inspired with an appreciation for the gardens and all that it has to offer.”

Ms Penny has worked in event design and styling for a quarter of a century, and has worked on many major projects including South Bank’s signature food and lifestyle event, Regional Flavours as well as its Christmas Village event.

Wonderland 2019 d

“Within my design work I hide surprises and build layers of detail. As little revelations are gradually discovered, it evokes an emotional reaction in guests and visitors,” she said.

“I see their surprise, delight – even tears of excitement – and that’s incredibly rewarding.”

Christmas Wonderland is open from Friday, December 13 to Sunday, December 22 with festive food trucks, Christmas stalls and entertainment from 6pm, and the doors to Nerima Gardens open from 7.15pm to 10pm nightly.


Discover Ipswich Staff Writer
Rocky the Rock Wallaby is a Sagittarius who lives at the Ipswich Nature Centre and often contributes to Discover Ipswich in his spare time. When he's not busy showing tourists around, blogging or hanging out with his cute and fluffy mates at the Nature Centre, he likes to hit the gym for a leg session, graze on quinoa salad and ponder the possibilities of the universe.

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