Getting ready for Saturday's Lismore Lantern Parade.
Getting ready for Saturday's Lismore Lantern Parade. The Northern Star

Many hands make light work

JESSE Westbrook has been painting spots on a giant giraffe and rehearsing his roles as a Venus fly trap and a mobile phone in the finale of the Lismore Lantern Parade on Saturday night.

Jesse is a Year 12 student at Southern Cross K-12 School in Ballina and is doing a week's work experience at LightnUp, the production company that stages Lismore's biggest cultural and community event every year.

The workshop is a hive of activity in the final week as teams put the final touches on lanterns, props and staging. Outside, welders were building two eight-metre stands so fire-breathing dragons can spew fireworks into the night.

Josh Radford, a visual arts student at SCU who has been working on creating fire sculptures and fireworks effects all semester, is looking forward to helping out with the pyrotechnics on Saturday night.

Lantern Parade director Jyllie Jackson said another group of students was arriving today from the University of Technology in Sydney, where they were studying entertainment and event management.

What you can expect from the Lismore Lantern Parade

"There are so many people who have come through here and have gone on to bigger and better things. It's been such an amazing training ground," she said.

One of those people is Kathy McCormick, who now lives in Melbourne, but has come back for her ninth lantern parade.

"It's become a bit of a tradition for me, but I think it will be my last one. I've just got too much to do in Melbourne," she said.

Ms McCormick is director of the Moon Lantern Festival in Richmond, and works on various other cultural events in Melbourne.

This year she is doing shadow puppets in the parade finale and making the ceremonial gates at the entrance to Heritage Park.

Ms Jackson said many people thought the event was paid for by the Lismore City Council.

However, while the council was a generous supporter, she said the event still needed to cover costs by taking donations at the gate. She encouraged people to give what they could to gatekeepers with the yellow buckets.


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