TIME TO SHINE: Lismore's Poppi McCarthy will sparkle in tonight's Lantern Parade with her hand made lantern.
TIME TO SHINE: Lismore's Poppi McCarthy will sparkle in tonight's Lantern Parade with her hand made lantern. CONTRIBUTED

Poppi will light the way at Lantern Parade

THE annual Lismore Lantern Parade is upon us and among the array of visual delights and performances one local lady will be illuminated into the spotlight.

Local National Disability Insurance Scheme participant Poppi McCarthy will be front and centre with her own hand-made lantern after almost a year being actively involved as a lantern-maker with parade organiser lightnUp Inc.

The Lantern Parade has been a beloved feature on Lismore's event calendar for more than 20 years.

Thousands of visitors from all over the region turn out to see schools, businesses, community groups, government departments and others walk through the streets of downtown Lismore with their individually crafted lanterns, lighting up the midwinter night sky.

What parade spectators don't see are the months and months of preparation leading up to the event, and Poppi at this stage is the only person with a disability who rolls up her sleeves and actively participates in lightnUp's lantern-making workshop. She attends every Wednesday, rain hail or shine.

ABOVE: Therese Hoare, of Brunswick Heads, volunteers at the Lantern Parade workshop in Lismore.
ABOVE: Therese Hoare, of Brunswick Heads, volunteers at the Lantern Parade workshop in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

The 27-year-old has a severe intellectual disability and for many years, she has lived in supported accommodation in an isolated area with few opportunities to join in community activities.

That changed two years ago when Poppi was able to move back in with her mother, in Lismore.

Mum Tarlai said the workshops have been "incredibly beneficial and inclusive” for Poppi.

"She's been learning a lot but it's been a two-way street - she's been teaching other participants how to communicate with people who can't communicate verbally,” Tarlai said.

Therese Hoare, of Brunswick Heads, volunteers at the Lantern Parade workshop in Lismore.
Therese Hoare, of Brunswick Heads, volunteers at the Lantern Parade workshop in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

The Lismore Lantern Parade: What you need to know

  • Activities commence from 12pm until 9am
  • The parade starts at 5.30pm from the corner of Market and Moslesworth St, culminating at the Quad in Rural St, Lismore
  • This year's theme is 'Wonderland', a cross between an enchanted fairytale paradise and a colourful fantasy dreamland.
  • Tickets are not required to the parade's finale at the Quad. Entry by donation.
  • Be sure to donate to a bucketeer to keep next year's parade afloat.
  • Daytime events run from 12-6pm and evening events run from 5-9pm
  • For full program details head to: www.lanternparade.com


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