So much more than a parade…

The Lismore Lantern Parade is an annual community arts festival held on or around the longest night of the year, being the Winter Solstice. It is recognised as the signature event for the City of Lismore along with the North Coast National.

On 31 March 2017 Cyclone Debbie wreaked havoc on the North Coast and Lismore’s levee was overtopped. The Lantern Workshop situated in a low-lying area of the CBD was inundated with three metres of filthy flood water, and what seemed like a mini tsunami. Despite working hard to lift everything the water came so fast, we lost almost all our materials, furniture and tools, and 90% of our big lanterns were damaged or destroyed. The whole CBD and other low lying areas of Lismore suffered a similar fate so many people lost so much. Thankfully there was no loss of life in the Lismore area.

We are a resilient mob, and across the city we have all been busily cleaning, fixing and mending. So that on Saturday, 24 June 2017, we will celebrate our resilient community and light our hearts at the 23rd Lismore Lantern Parade.

Each year the lantern parade involves participants from throughout the Northern Rivers and visitors to the region who have attended workshops in lantern, mask and costume making, the finale show, carnival dance and the parade bands.

The Lismore Lantern Parade attracts more than 30,000 people each year and provides a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. The festival celebrates community, art and nature with arts, crafts, workshops, regional cuisine, a spectacular parade, lanterns, parade bands, street theatre, music, carnival dancers, illuminated puppets, fire art and pyrotechnics and much, much more.

Lanterns, fire and outdoor celebration are deeply embedded in many cultures from China, Japan, Burma and Vietnam to Europe and Africa. The lantern represents a positive metaphor for community optimism and hope throughout the world and it was from this tradition that the Lismore Lantern Parade was born. The universal and multicultural theme makes the Lantern Parade appealing to people from all walks of life and nationalities.

School and community workshops start at Easter. Workshops for feature lantern making and sponsored community lanterns are held by arrangement. For many years, participants in very successful Work for the Dole (WFD) projects have contributed in a major way to the lantern parade. The WFD programs have morphed into other projects and participants continue to find a place in the lantern workshop. Many other volunteers travel from across the Northern Rivers region, South East Queensland, around NSW, South Australia and Victoria to participate in this event.

The Lantern Parade has a wonderful network of lantern and fire event friends that spread across the country and many travel to Lismore each year to work on the Lismore Lantern Parade but this event would not be possible without the support of our local community, volunteers and sponsors. Thank you everyone!

A very special mention and sincere thanks to Neil and Faridah Cameron who have been vital in the development of the Lismore Lantern Parade and LightnUp Inc. Their inspiration, wisdom and generosity have been so very important to the staff and all those involved in the lantern parade – thank you.

The Lismore Lantern Parade and LightnUp Inc acknowledges the Bundjalung Nation on whose land we walk and celebrate.

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