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Cardiff transforms into real-life advent calendar

FOR Cardiff kicks off the countdown to Christmas by turning the city centre into a giant advent calendar starting today.

Shoppers from Beddau unveiled the first window panel on The Hayes
Left Back – Martin Dymmock, Left Front – John Bain, Right Back – Gareth Vowles
Front Right – Craig Williams. Credit: Huw John, Cardiff

24 calendar doors will begin appearing in various locations across the city on the 1st; in the Cardiff arcades, in the Capitol Centre and the Hayes, and each day will unveil the adventures of Dwynwen the Dragon.

People are encouraged to head into the city centre to spot, snap and share the images to be in with a chance of winning a FOR Cardiff gift card.

The doors have been designed by Welsh artist Pete Fowler, best known for his artwork for Welsh band, Super Furry Animals. Inspired by animals, music, folklore and myths, Pete’s work usually features a central narrative with recurring characters, like mischievous Dwynwen the dragon.

Dwynwen is a young, venturesome dragon who will be getting up to all kinds of festive activities during advent. She enjoys the freedom of the great outdoors, so you might spot her climbing Capital Tower or the Principality Stadium, writing a letter to Father Christmas or baking sweet smelling gingerbread men, all before Christmas day.

To help keep an eye on the fun-loving dragon, the public are invited to #FindDwynwen and follow the trail, sharing their photos of Dwynwen using #FindDwynwen, or #BleMaeDwynwen in Welsh to be in with a chance of winning a FOR Cardiff gift card, which is redeemable in over 70 stores in Cardiff.

In addition to finding Dwynwen, visitors can take part in free events on the three weekends leading up to Christmas such as:

  • Dewi the giant dragon – 2-4 Royal Arcade, 7-8th December, 11:00-13:00
  • Christmas decoration workshop with artist Louise Evans at 2-4 Royal Arcade 7thDecember, 11:00-13:00
  • Bilingual story telling with Tamar Williams at 2-4 Royal Arcade 14th December, 12:00-16:00
  • Pop up choir at the GingerbreadMun House, The Hayes, 14th December, 15:00-16:00
  • Pop up choir at the GingerbreadMun House, 15th December, 11:00-12:00
  • Projections Dwynwen the Dragon illustrations and animations in St Johns Gardens onto the Old Library, 21st December to 24th December – From 15:00 – 22:00

Visitors can also enjoy a bigger and better Gingerbread Mun house again this year, with more Gingerbread characters and opportunities to win prizes by sharing selfies using #GingerbreadMun.

Pete Fowler, freelance artist said: ““With these illustrations I wanted to reference some much-loved things about Cardiff and give them the Christmas filter. One of my favourite landmarks is the animal wall along Bute Park by the Castle, which I fondly remember from my childhood.

“For the dragon, I wanted to create a friendly mythological beast, which we’ve decided is female that I imagined that frolicked around Cardiff at Christmas.”

Adrian Field, Executive Director of FOR Cardiff said: “We strive to make Cardiff more vibrant and welcoming for residents and visitors, that’s why FOR Cardiff wanted to sprinkle some Christmas magic across the city centre. We commissioned the bright and bold Dwynwen the dragon in the hope that people will go out and #FindDwynwen whilst exploring the festive capital and support the independent businesses and high street retailers on offer.”

Visit www.FORCardiff.com/Christmas for details on advent calendar locations and other Christmas activities across the city.