And the night lights up

By NERIDA BLOK Lismore City Reporter

PRE-performance jitters turned to technical panic for 14-year-old Emily Connor on Saturday night.

Just before heading out to perform her part in the Lismore Lantern Parade's riverside spectacular, the Brollywood star was hit by a surge of doubt.

"I'm really scared my lantern light won't turn on," she shrieked. "I'm really nervous."

It was a contagious feeling.

"I need to pee," another performer yelled out.

But for Emily, at least, she needn't have worried.

Her lantern did light up, as did the faces of more than 16,000 people who attended the city's 11th annual event.

Described by organisers as Lismore's biggest lantern parade yet, crowds packed the streets in their beanies and scarves to watch more than 500 lanterneers blaze a trail of light and emotion through the CBD.

Starting from Magellan Street, the parade wove it's way down Molesworth and Market Streets to Heritage Park.

Max Rayner, from Lismore, lifted his beer glass in appreciation of parade participants as they passed his regular vantage spot, outside the Civic Hotel.

"I love it," he said.

"I've been to every one ? it seems to improve every year."

Reaching the park, parade followers were met by one of Lismore's gatekeepers, Sean LouthRobins.

Donned in 'standard issue wings', tights and thick glittery makeup, the part-time actor from North Lismore helped direct people to Lismore's Riverbank for the show's multi-medium, illuminated fiery finale.

"I love the quirky people," he said. "It's good everyone can come out for one night a year that doesn't cost much money."

Celebrating the success of the evening, parade organiser Jyllie Jackson said she shared a few beers with her 'amazing team of helpers' at a late-night party held after the event.

"We all sat around a bonfire back at the shed and watched video footage of the show on the big screen," she said.

"I think we did it. It was a very tight, very fast show ? we all worked very hard."

But Sunday brought no postparade sleep-in.

Jyllie was up again at 7am yesterday taking down fences, picking up rubbish and moving lanterns back to the workshop.

"No rest for the wicked," she laughed.

Jyllie said her early vision for the event was to 'create a sense of celebration and optimism in the community'.

"I think we achieved that," she said. "I think everyone was happy and people left with a smile in their heart, which I hope they take and live it in their lives for the year to come."

This year's show, produced by a predominately-female team, cost approximately $100,000.

"If we ran it as a commercial event, it would have cost more than $300,000," she said.

"The volunteers and in-kind support we received from local businesses help keep costs down."

Too many to thank individually, Jyllie passed on her sincere appreciation to all involved.

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