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lismore lantern parade

saturday 22 june 2024

Celebrating 30years of bringing light to the heart of our community

Lismore’s signature event

Established 30 years ago, the Lismore Lantern Parade is a nationally and internationally recognised, award-winning annual festival that celebrates the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year, a time of optimism and renewal.

The celebration is based on a breath-taking parade of lanterns, light and performance through the main streets of Lismore, travelling through the heart of the city to the banks of the Wilson’s River climaxing with theatrical performance, fireworks and a spectacular bonfire.

The Lismore Lantern Parade enjoys considerable community engagement and involvement. Levels of

participation and enthusiasm build in the months leading up to the event and culminate in the joyous celebration of the final parade.

The strength of this engagement is underpinned by partnerships with local educational & financial

institutions, business, community groups and Lismore City Council. The Lismore Lantern Parade has become a favourite date for Family and Friends ‘get-togethers’, with families being our major demographic. Seniors and Grey Nomads are also well represented, with the under 25s a steadily growing representation too.

The Lantern Parade is an icon for the region and is recognised by Lismore City Council as the Signature Event for the city. The Lismore Lantern Parade enjoys unprecedented support from the local community and attracts visitors from all over Australia and the world.

Notwithstanding the Covid Pandemic and the devastating floods of 2022, the lantern parade attracts a highly diverse audience of over 30,000 people, coming from as far afield as South and Western Australia, North Queensland and Victoria, and of course from throughout NSW and SE Queensland. A small % of International visitors are also regularly entranced by the event.

Around 2,500 people take part in the actual parade, this includes community organisations, schools and preschools, bands and many performers. Local businesses and organisations participate as a part of their staff team building. Participants come from throughout the region – Evans Head, Byron Bay to Tweed, Tabulam, Kyogle and Casino.

Despite the challenges over the years, the Lantern Parade has never been cancelled. We even created a Virtual Lantern Parade during the 2020 lock-downs, with lantern installations in the Lismore CBD. For the Virtual Parade we set up an on-line shop to sell lantern kits, people then sent us photos of their home-made lanterns, which we turned into a video that we mixed with a live stream broadcast and linked in with people in Atlanta USA, the UK and New Zealand as well as Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. In 2021 we had to move the Lantern Parade to the Showgrounds with a limited, ticketed audience of 5,000 to meet Covid restrictions.


However, most Importantly in 2022 the devastating floods that brought so much trauma to our community, the Lantern Parade become an important catalyst in our healing after these terrible days.

The role played in the floods by the SES and Civilian Volunteers' Tinnie Army was honoured in the parade in a cathartic and humorous way, with a finale depicting the fiery Phoenix in a heart symbolising regeneration and hope. "The Healing Hearts" was considered to be one of the best lantern parades ever.


In 2023 our theme was ‘’Gates of Renewal’ – taking steps into liminal space, finding a path to renewal. And our return to the riverbank was received with much joy if a bit of a tight squeeze.


Now we come to 2024 – celebrating 30 years, bringing light to the heart of our communities.

So many families from all over Australia have grown up in wonderment of the magic of the lanterns each year. The lantern parade is truly an inter-generational tradition, with babies in prams now bringing their teenagers to the lantern parade this year.

Our theme this year will look back to our simple parades in the early days, and the growth of the Lantern Parade into the beloved community tradition it is today.

We are also very excited to have been asked by Lismore’s 41st Battalion, Royal NSW Regiment to facilitate and support their exercising a Freedom of Entry to the City of Lismore.

The last time the Freedom of Entry was exercised was in June 1979 as a part of Lismore’s Centenary Celebrations. The tradition of Freedom of Entry to a city, municipality or shire originates from a custom dating back to medieval times, Freedom of Entry is the highest honour a municipality may bestow upon a unit.

Exercising a Freedom of Entry is an honour that has been bestowed on 41 RNSWR by the citizens of the city of Lismore and is a tradition that has been practised by military units since the reign of Charles II in 1660 and exercising the freedom is a ceremonial event of deep historical significance.

This is an excellent opportunity to show the people of Lismore thanks for their continued support to the soldiers and officers.


The Freedom of Entry will take place early in the early afternoon of the 22nd June before the Lantern Parade.

The first lantern parade involved only a few hundred participants and a small crowd, in 2023 over 2,500 people walked in the parade with a crowd of over thirty-two thousand people lining the streets. We expect an even bigger crowd this year as people from all over Australia and beyond celebrate THEIR lantern festival's 30th anniversary!


The Lantern Parade’s program is still being developed and we look forward to announcing more about our special 30th anniversary celebrations in the near future. Check out our PROGRAM section for early information and have a wonder about the Website for lots of useful information!

in the meantime, here is a snapshot of our fabulous

2023 lismore lantern parade!


2023 saw the Lismore Lantern Parade celebrate 29 years of ’bringing light to the heart of the city”. We were still finding our way after the Great Floods of 2022 as were so many in our Northern Rivers community, but we felt that as the Lantern Parade brings so much joy and positivity to our community – THE SHOW MUST GO ON!!

The 2023 theme was “Gates of Renewal” reflecting the history of the lantern parade which celebrates Winter Solstice, the change from the longest nights to the return of the sun – known as liminal space, where optimism and magic happen. We hope this will bring positivity and happiness to our community – moving forward with renewed hope and energy.


The day commenced at 12noon in the HEART of the CBD for the Market deLight.The Northern Rivers Conservatorium and Southern Cross University once again presented a fabulous musical program on the Heartbeats Festival Stage in Carrington Street. The program featured well loved local artists Jimmy Willing and the Real Gone Hickups and multi artist Jex Lopez to an enthusiastic audience.


Many people wrote a 'Love Letter to the River' or a 'Wish for Lismore' under the Heart in Magellan Street.


The Summerland Bank's Games Space provided loads of fun for young people of all ages, they also generously subsidised the school lantern workshops this year.

And there is more - Summerland Bank helped out on the ever popular, Lantern Decorating Stall at the festival, before joining the parade.


The Market deLight had a fabulous array of local food stalls to feast upon, craft stalls and community fundraising stalls. The bouncing castles and kids activities were popular into the evening.


Many folk took the time to wander around the CBD and delight at the lovely Enchanted Windows and LisAmore! themed eateries.


We were delighted to be returning to the River once more last year for a beautiful Fiery Finale.

After the Fiery Finale the fun in the CBD continued with that rockabilly bundle of energy, the iconic Jimmy Willing.

Then everyone partied on at fun central The Hotel Metropole for the "After Party" until late.

In fact all the pubs and hotels in town were full of happy energy and warmth.

A great night was had by all!

Remembering with love - Sara Tinning, John Lush, Joanne Kambourian, Karen Coyle, Suzanne Olesen, John Miller, Issy Brent, Bede Flynn

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