Tunbridge Wells Winter Lantern Parade will return in 2019

Tunbridge Wells Winter Lantern Parade will return in 2019

Families and community groups traditionally show off their handmade lanterns in the event, which is one of the highlights of Camden Road’s calendar.

Organisers want February’s event to be the best in its ten year history but admitted financial concerns led them to question if the popular showcase would ever be back.

Nell Price, of Camden Road Education, Arts and Theatre Experience [CREATE], said: “It was always the intention to bring it back for 2019.

“As the event got larger we needed to stop and rethink the organisation, and also find the funding.

“We have received a couple of grants towards funding. We have also had donations and sponsors from local businesses have got involved.”

For the first time the parade will finish at Grosvenor and Hilbert Recreation Ground, Auckland Road entrance, when it is staged on Saturday, February 9, from 5.30pm.

And CREATE is looking to boost its outreach by holding a series of free family workshops throughout the weekends of January and first weekend of February.

They will also offer the chance for participants to construct a lantern by buying a pack for £5 containing materials, glue and instructions.

To hold as many outreach events as they have intended, CREATE need to raise around £21,000 and they currently have around half of that.

Mrs Price said: “We have had around 1,000 taking part in the past with 2,000 lining the route. It could be larger than previous years, with around 1,500 on the parade.

“To facilitate this we have been working with Royal Tunbridge Wells Round Table – who organise the Dunorlan Park Fireworks. They are providing extra marshalling.

“Anyone can get involved and it is a completely free event.”

She added: “I think the parade has been missed. CREATE has had lots of enquiries and it is something a lot of people want to happen. It has a nice community feel and atmosphere.

“If we could not get the funding we would have not have been able to put it on. And the more funding we continue to get the more workshops we can hold.”

CREATE also has a community choir and theatre company, but the Tunbridge Wells Winter Lantern Parade is the production they are best known for.

For information on how to donate, or to find out about workshops, visit winterlanterns.org

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