It was the last big event before the COVID-19 lockdown, and the first to kick off since restrictions have eased - Canberra's Enlighten Festival is back.
The city was gearing up for an event-filled weekend to see out the last hours of summer on Friday, as the buildings lit up with the festival's signature spectacular light displays.
It feels like a very long time since February 2020, when the city was still reeling from the devastating Black Summer bushfires, and event organisers' only fears were of being washed out following massive downpours.
But while the coronavirus was bearing down in Australia, no one predicted that another Canberra tradition, Skyfire, would be cancelled as COVID-19 took hold.
Twelve months on, Canberra's autumn festivities look set to continue, giving the city a chance to celebrate what could well be the light at the end of the tunnel of the global pandemic, and a year of unprecedented fear, change and uncertainty.
While the Skyfire event won't be part of festival celebrations this year, there are plenty of other ways for Canberrans to get out and experience the city in all its autumn glory.
Most events and installations are ticketed and will require online pre-registration.
1. Enlighten Illuminations
Instagrammers, rejoice. The Enlighten Illuminations were switched on from Friday evening to mark the official opening of the festival. Iconic buildings across the city will be lit-up each night from 8pm.
Highlights include artist Joan Ross' Collector's Paradise at the National Gallery, complete with movement and sound, a quirky physics-themed projection at Questacon as well as featured installations along the light trail. Attendees can also register for the event's food options, Enlighten Alley and Bentspoke Beer Garden.
2. Attractions After Dark
Some of Canberra's biggest attractions will host Attractions After Dark in a series of ticketed events. The Australian Botanic Gardens with burst to life with Symbiosis, Canberra Dance Party's exclusive, dance-infused walking tour.
Unwind at the National Zoo with Wild Yoga and take in the sounds of the wild as you downward dog your way into the day. Visit the Enlighten Titan at the Australian Mint, and learn about the money-making robot before creating your own Titan artwork. You will find tickets to all these, and more, on the Enlighten website.
3. Lights, Canberra, Action
Local filmmakers have been tasked with creating a seven-minute short film, focused on this years theme, hope. Each film has to incorporate 10 items symbolising hope, including a dove, King O'Malley's plaque on the Commencement Column and a unicorn. The 12 finalists will have their films presented at the Lights, Canberra, Action event on March 5 at Stage 88.
4. Late Night Treats
The Night Noodle Markets are a no-show this year, but festival organisers and local business have joined forces to bring Late Night Treats - an activation that can be found in venues across Canberra. Each venue involved has created a signature menu in celebration of the festival.
Bentspoke Brewery will offer "The Skywhale Bent Trifle" featuring their Skywhale Ale and Joe's Bar in Kingston will feature a specialty gin cocktail that glows. Late Night Treats will run over four nights on Friday and Saturday nights across the event. A full list of participating venues can be found on the Enlighten website.
5. Balloon Spectacular
The Skywhale family will be making an entrance at this year's Balloon Spectacular, following the completion of Skywhalepapa earlier this year. Balloon enthusiasts and early-risers can make their way to the Patrick White Lawns bright and early for a chance to enjoy breakfast with a view, as hot air balloons take flight across Canberra's skyline. Balloons take off at 6.15am each morning (weather dependent) from March 6.