Lantern parade set to light up Bedminster
By Harry Mottram. The Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade is perhaps more like a Somerset carnival parade – but without the light bulbs – rather than a parade of children and their parents with paper lanterns. It is a major community event through the streets of South Bristol involving thousands of onlookers, participants and performers – all blessed by every section of Bristol society.
And it all started almost by accident over ten years ago as one of the founders Malcolm Brammar explained to South Bristol Voice: “We were originally involved in a one off event run by ACTA the community theatre group who put out an appeal for volunteers to help marshal their parade in Bedminster.”
Stef Brammar explained that the parade was the closing event of an arts festival – and that was the seminal event of the current lantern parade.
She said: “We had just moved here and we thought that’s a nice thing and so we volunteered and went along to help marshal it.”
Organiser Naomi Fuller said the first parade took place in 2011 after the Brammars decided to stage a parade which they called The Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade.
Stef said they managed to raise the £9,000 required to stage it compared to the £21,000 needed for this year’s event..
Naomi said: “Some people don’t realise the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes throughout the year to make it happen.
“And also they don’t realise that it takes a lot of money to put on an event that brings so much joy, that lights up the streets and is so inclusive.
“There are workshops, materials, artists to be paid for and lots of logistical costs such as paying for the road closures, traffic management and insurance.”
Malcolm said: “The first one was a short circular walk and we didn’t even stop the traffic.
“But as it got bigger and more popular we thought we’d better have a rethink and stop the traffic to make it safer.
“At that point the business group BID was established and they said they would support it but asked us to change the route to support the traders.”
The tie up was agreed and the traders chipped in with sponsorship cash.
The parade on Saturday 8th January sees local roads closed to traffic from 3-7pm so the parade sets off along North Street, Cannon Street, British Road and part of South Street with the parade beginning at 4pm near St Francis Church.
If the weather is bad the event is moved to another Saturday with details given out to everyone.
For more details of the parade visit https://www.lanternparade.org/
Harry Mottram is the news editor of South Bristol Voice monthly magazine and a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/