Lantern Parade lights up Tunbridge Wells

SeahorseThere were a thousand smiles the length of Camden Road on Saturday night as the Tunbridge Wells Winter Lantern parade lit up the dark winter night.

More than 1,500 people took part in a fantastic parade which was themed on the sea and included  giant  creatures including an octopus, a sea horse and - in celebration of Chinese New Year - a tropical yellow rabbit puffer fish!

Samba band Bloco Fogo made sure everyone heard the parade and even the elderly residents of St Stephen’s  Court got to see and hear the fantastic sights. The parade started outside the Museum and Library and finished at St Barnabas School.

The event was organised by Tunbridge Wells Arts Partnership which includes Town & Country Foundation, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Kent Adult Education and Trinity Theatre and Create. The partners stage the event in mid winter as it links to new year celebrations elsewhere in the world and it is a time when everyone needs cheering up given the cold and dark of the winter. The crowds also gave a boost to the local traders and economy.

In the build up to the event local artists ran workshops across the town and hundreds have taken part. On the day, youngsters decorated lanterns in the library and made shakers at Trinity.

Dawn Grant, community development manager at Town & Country Foundation, said: “It was a fabulous event and there was a great sense of communities coming together to celebrate and enjoy the spectacle. Next year will be the fifth anniversary of the parade and we are already looking forward to building on this year’s success and we are keen to get more local businesses involved.”

Anyone who is interested in getting involved in next year’s event should contact Dawn on 01892 501702 or e-mail dawn.grant@tchg.org.uk.

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