The streets of Mount Holly will be alive with light as Awaken Gallery in collaboration with Mount Holly Community Development Foundation present the Second Annual Lantern Parade on Saturday, October 26 beginning at 6pm.
In 2018, with only twenty days between workshops and the actual parade, 200 lanterns hit the street created by twenty artists, a handful of community members, six local teachers, and approximately forty students. This year, the numbers have swelled to 200 artists and community members taking the lantern making workshops and a dozen teachers bringing 320 students. Lantern makers from as far as Colorado, Canada, and Connecticut and as close as Charleston, Asheville, and Atlanta will be joining the parade.
Both years, through private funding, all teachers and their students are provided with the materials necessary to create the lanterns. This year, Stanton Enterprise, Inc of Mount Holly stepped in to provide one hundred percent of the money needed to ensure every child who wants to participate may do so. Mount Holly Community Development Foundation provided funding to bring Irish artist and gallery owner Olive Stack and Canadian artist Kathleen Doody to Mount Holly to conduct lantern making workshops throughout the year. European style lantern parades are unusual in the US; even the paper necessary for the lanterns must be special ordered from the UK.
“When I was brought in to teach these workshops, I honestly did not expect the enormity of what arrived the night of the parade!” Stack said. “From the incredible lanterns to the crowds who showed up, I was completely blown away. I will never forget the moment when I turned the corner onto Main Street and saw people in the crowd holding up the Irish Flag and a sign that read ‘céad míle fáilte’ which means one hundred thousand welcomes in Irish. I cannot wait to return this year.”
The Lantern Parade is designed to shine a light on arts in education and the importance of shining one’s personal light into the world. Follow the link to see a video of last year’s event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= Sj6OQtOUqu0&t=8s