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Work underway for third annual Mt. Holly Lantern Parade

Mar 06, 2020 11:39AM

This is the lantern that Emily Andress wore in last year’s parade. Photo by Alan Hodge

By Alan Hodge

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The third annual Mt. Holly Lantern Parade will be stepping off later this year, but work on the project  has already started.

A couple of weeks ago, a group of around fifty folks got together at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Mt. Holly for the first of what will be several lantern crafting workshops to be held over the coming months.

Awaken Gallery owner Emily Andress came up with the idea for the parade a couple of years ago. The first two parades doubled in participants and spectators who were agog at the fanciful and fantastic illuminated paper and wire creations that ranged from dragons to a large Cinderella carriage piloted by a real live child.

“The church let us use a space which was fabulous of them,” Andress said. “We had participants from Mt. Holly, Shelby, Cherryville, Charlotte, and Columbia, S.C. They found out about the workshop through social media.”

Andress instructed lantern makers with help from last year’s third place lantern contest winner Meghan Burney.

“This year’s lanterns will be great,” Andress said. “Participants got so much done at the workshop. They are making a tiger, clowns, cotton candy, and a seal among other things,” she said. “They will look spectacular.”

Anthony Stamey from Charlotte was at the workshop.

“The lantern workshop  was an ideal way to spend a Saturday,” Stamey said. “As a Charlotte resident, it was nice to get out of the city bubble and spend some time in downtown Mt Holly learning a new skill. The collaborative spirit of the participants and Emily’s enthusiasm were contagious. 

By the end of the workshop, we had learned the building blocks for creating the wire foundation of our lanterns and best practices for lighting and papering our designs. Overall, aside from learning lantern building techniques, it was a breath of fresh air to meet new people and be a part of this cultural gem in Mt. Holly!”

As in the previous two parades, local schools will be making lanterns and marching them down Main St. 

“Schools taking part include Ida Rankin, Pinewood, Mt. Holly Middle, and East Gaston, to name a few,” said Andress. “We will have a workshop for teachers in late May.”

Overall,  this year’s Mt. Holly Lantern Parade is shaping up to be the biggest one yet.

The next workshop will be held April 18th, 2020 at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Mt. Holly.