Bang for buck: funding shortage couldn't dim lantern parade
NECESSITY was the mother of illumination for the 21st Lismore Lantern Parade on Saturday.
The iconic event cracked an estimated 30,000 people, among the biggest turnoutin history. Although donations were down, community spirit had never been higher.
Lantern parade director Jyllie Jackson decided to take a back-to-basics approach for the Fiery Finale at Oakes Oval after the Lismore Business Promotion Panel halved the festival's funding.
"It was a case of keeping it simple, or not doing it at all," she said.
The massive bonfire and simple but effective fire show was pared down from previous years.
In April the Lismore Business Promotion Panel made the decision to fund the city's premier event with $10,000 rather than the $20,000 requested by LightnUp Inc.
"We were disappointed but we made it work," said Ms Jackson.
She added community spirit in the form of volunteer hours and parade participation was at an all-time high.
"A lot of people made a big effort, with facepaint, costumes and music. Our school bands were awesome," she said.
Oakes Oval stadium seating for the Fiery Finale sold out by Saturday afternoon and more tickets were bought than the previous two years.
"There were big numbers. Perhaps the biggest ever," she said.
"The seamlessness of the parade was testament to the good planning and hard work from volunteers.
"We've had some lovely feedback. Those who had never seen a lantern parade were blown away."
Sydney filmmaker Ian Munroe said he was reduced to tears by the scale, beauty and spirit of the event.
He said it was "overwhelmingly beautiful - indescribable".
Mr Munroe's daughter Claire Munroe, a local volunteer, was equally moved by the sense of community.
"The fact that thousands of people come together to coordinate an event with the pure purpose of uplifting the community is what makes the lantern parade like nothing else," she said.