FEE NOT FREE: Organisers are considering imposing a fee for next years Lantern Parade.
FEE NOT FREE: Organisers are considering imposing a fee for next years Lantern Parade.

Heat is on for admission charge to lantern parade

By Alex Easton

LISMORE Lantern Parade organisers will consider charging entry for the first time in the event's 14-year history.

Parade founder Jyllie Jackson said the event's board would have to consider new fundraising methods to get the money needed for next year, after rain at this year's parade cut the crowd by two-thirds and left them with a shortfall of more than $13,000.

Organisers will ask Lismore City Council at its meeting next Tuesday to bring forward $15,000 in funding for the parade. The money had been intended to fund the 2008 event, but Ms Jackson said the shortfall meant it was now needed to pay out this year's bills.

Rain shredded crowd numbers at this year's parade, with fewer than 10,000 of an anticipated 30,000 people braving the wet and the cold to watch the event.

The smaller numbers meant organisers collected only about $3000 in donations compared to an expected $8000, while water damage to equipment and the need to hire marquees and other equipment intended to cope with the rain increased costs.

Despite all that, Ms Jackson said the event had done well, with a record number of marchers (1500 booked to enter with about 1000 turning up on the night) and generating international media coverage in places such as Saudi Arabia, California and London.

"Obviously some of the things will have to be talked over with the board," Ms Jackson said.

"We have had various ideas and we're not sure which ones to use.

"We want to call on all the friends of the Lantern Parade for ideas," she said

One proposal from Woodford Folk Festival director Bill Hauritz, who Ms Jackson described as a big supporter, was for Lantern Parade organisers to charge entry to the fire event that finishes the parade.



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