Warming hearts on cold night: scenes from the Lantern Parade
IT WAS one of the coldest nights of the year, but that didn't stop a huge turnout for Saturday night's 21st annual Lismore Lantern Parade.
Under a starry, cloudless night with a bright crescent moon adding to the Winter Solstice vibe, a building crowd of rugged-up parade-goers hummed with anticipation before the fierce drumming of the Lismore Pipe Band signalled the arrival of the parade's vanguard lantern, the famous Unicorn.
What followed was a magical hour-long display of colour and light, perhaps even more so for little ones under a metre tall, who gazed upwards, entranced by the myriad variety of lanterns.
The much-loved event saw three-metre deep crowds of all ages lining the Lismore Central Business District in some spots with Mayor Jenny Dowell remarking they were the biggest street crowds seen in the parade's history.
And the big crowds lining the parade route were more than matched by a record 2500-strong procession of locals marching in the parade itself.
Music arguably played a bigger role in this year's parade than ever before.
With plenty of musical groups smattered throughout the procession there was never any shortage of drums and melodies to provide a soundtrack the festive affair.
The other classic element of the festival was the community involvement, with organisations and community groups from across the spectrum weaving the city's cultural fabric ever closer.
In what has evolved into a grand two-act affair, the Lantern Parade then congregated at Lismore's Oakes Oval for what was the biggest fiery finale show in the event's history.
Cr Dowell introduced the finale by urging people to tolerate "wet bottoms" for an hour to allow everyone to see, dancing, fireworks, flame-twirling and exotic music combined in a grand display, culminating in the lighting of the central pyre.
Lismore Lantern Parade artistic director Jyllie Jackson said it was another successful year for a much-loved festival that has solidified its place in the heart of the city of Lismore.