What better way to celebrate the longest night of the year than a Lantern Parade in the Byron Bay Hinterland? There is something so mysterious about lighting a handmade paper lantern, snuggling up in your warmest jacket and wandering off into the winter evening.
The Lismore Lantern Parade has been running for eighteen years and each year focuses on a central theme. The theme for this year's parade is "Imagine", while some past parade themes have been "The Great Garden", "Harvest" and "Awakening". The highly popular event is more than just the parade itself with some lantern making workshops commencing their detailed preparation around Easter.
The entire community gets involved and even local businesses join in the spirit of the parade, elaborately decorating their shop windows in the week leading up to the big day/night, as part of the "Enchanted Windows" competition. Throughout the parade day, there are also markets, arts and crafts stalls, kids rides and a kids art space to explore. There is even an authentic working Viking Village to experience at Jolly Fields, with 80 re-enactors in attendance.
Each year in excess of 25 000 people participate in the Lismore Lantern Parade, arriving from all over Australia to take part. Many attendees make a big effort to dress up in masks and costumes for the occasion, which concludes with a finale show and carnivale dance. The show itself is an amazing display of pyrotechnics, life lanterns, illuminated sculpture, performers, bands and sounds like a whole lot of fun.
The general public are encouraged to participate, and if you're interested, please visit the website to register asap. So why not make the most of the great Lantern Parade deals on offer, support the local community and join in the chilly celebrations this winter solstice?