RUGGED UP: Ready for the wet are Molly Havyatt and Marcel Bennett, with their children (front, from left) Merlin Bennett, eight
RUGGED UP: Ready for the wet are Molly Havyatt and Marcel Bennett, with their children (front, from left) Merlin Bennett, eight

Lantern Parade triumph, despite the rain

By BRIAN BIGG

IF YOU organise an outdoor event, at night, in the middle of winter, you have to expect it's going to rain sometimes.

And for the organisers of Saturday night's Lismore Lantern Parade, the end result of a year's planning and preparation was a cold and wet night in which a lot of people stayed home.

It's created a serious financial problem for the organisers, who now face thousands of dollars in unexpected bills.

But for the thousands who did brave the elements, the rain stopped exactly at the right moment and the big 32-minute finale and fireworks went off in spectacular fashion, an appropriate reward for the hundreds of people who put in thousands of hours of work to make it all happen.

For Marcel Bennett, Molly Havyatt and their combined crew of five kids, it was a touch and go decision.

"We were thinking we might keep the kids at home out of the weather," Molly said. "But one of the kids was registered as a marcher and so we rugged up and came out. I'm glad we did."

The parade's creative director, Jyllie Jackson, says the rain kept a lot of people at home.

"We had 1500 people registered to march and about 1000 turned up," she said. "In the end we had 95 different items in the parade, which stretched a kilometre through Lismore. It was the biggest Lantern Parade ever, even though the crowd was well down on last year's record."

For Jyllie, the rain throughout the day and evening created a mountain of problems.

"It was extremely difficult logistically. But the crew was so professional and made it work so well. In the end it was awesome and on the bright side, fewer people meant everyone had a more intimate view of the performance."

The big downside with a smaller crowd was a substantial financial shortfall.

Jyllie says parade organisers will need to do some serious fundraising to pay some of the bills.

"But it was a world-class event," she said.



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