Lantern parade takes on new glow

This year''s Belgrave Lantern Parade is being re-imagined amid the Covid-19 crisis.

By Romy Stephens

This year’s Belgrave Lantern Parade will still go ahead, but has been reimagined due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In the past, the event has seen thousands of residents from the Dandenong Ranges and surrounds take to the streets of Belgrave to show off homemade lanterns and celebrate the winter solstice.

But with restrictions on public gatherings in force due to coronavirus, what was a parade will now be transformed into a large public art installation woven throughout the township.

Event coordinator Jeremy Angerson said the installation will be made possible through a collection of live streamed workshops facilitated by local artists.

“The commitment is to bring the glow of winter back to the community,” he said.

“What was a parade is now going to be transformed into a fairly large scale public art installation.

“A dedicated team of local artists will lead dozens of online lantern making workshops for the community, commencing in May.”

These workshops will go for about 1-1.5 hours and run for just over a month.

They will be open for anyone to participate however lantern kits will be made available to the first 100 people that enrol.

The lantern installation will occur from 14-19 June and then be switched on at 6pm 20 June to mark the Winter Solstice.

The lanterns will then be left on for two weeks.

Mr Angerson said organisers have been working frantically to reinterpret and re-present the legacy of the Belgrave Lantern Parade, which has been running for about 15 years.

He said this year’s spectacle will take on a new, innovative, fresh and fit-for-purpose format.

“We are a wonderfully tight and quirky township that has a large artistic community that bustles about in the hills,” he said.

“We didn’t want to lose this opportunity and I think it really speaks to the resilience and the commitment and poetic essence of the township.

“The township shouldn’t go black in winter and it won’t be…It’s going to be a little symbol or a beacon of hope.”

Families are encouraged to get involved in the lantern-making sessions, particularly while in isolation.

Information about the workshops and lantern kits will be provided though Yarra Ranges Council and Burrinja Cultural Centre over the coming weeks.

Visit www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Home or www.burrinja.org.au.

 

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