LEAMINGTON Lantern Parade will be returning to its spiritual home this Christmas.
The festive parade of lanterns is inspired by The Lights of Leamington – the annual show of illuminations which attracted hundreds of thousands to Jephson Gardens for a decade until 1961.
The Lantern Parade has itself grown in popularity over the last eight years with 2,000 people showing off their homemade lanterns at the Pump Room Gardens before joining a procession through the town centre.
But due to restoration works taking place at the Pump Room Gardens, organisers BID Leamington have decided to give the parade a new twist for this year and shine a light on the town’s past.
Alison Shaw, project manager at BID Leamington, said: “The idea for the Leamington Lantern Parade came from people telling us about the illuminations that used to be in Jephson Gardens in the 1950s and 1960s.
“Thousands of people visited the town over the decade to see the lights totally transform the gardens. People wanted to bring back the illuminations and we came up with the idea of lanterns lighting up the town.
“The Lantern Parade has become a much-loved date in the town’s calendar, particularly with families, and with the works taking place at the Royal Pump Room Gardens this year, we felt it was a great opportunity to take it back to where it all began.”
BID Leamington is re-naming it Luminate Leamington for this year and is planning to fill Jephson Gardens with a host of illuminated installations, and is inviting community groups to get in touch with ideas on how they could help light up the park.
Alison said: “We would like to hear from community groups who would be keen to run a lantern making workshop or who have an idea of how they might want to light up an area of Jephson Gardens, perhaps with an illuminated display, activity or performance.
“It may be nearly 60 years since the last Lights of Leamington but the fond memories certainly live on and we hope Luminate Leamington will celebrate the magic of the past and the present by bringing together spectacular illuminations and lanterns.”
Luminate Leamington will be held on the afternoon of Sunday December 2. Visitors will be able to wander around Jephson Gardens and enjoy the displays and activities leading up to the procession of lanterns around the park at 5pm, finishing with Christmas carols at the Clock Tower.
Free lantern making workshops will be held in the run-up to Luminate Leamington, and lantern making packs will also be available from BID Leamington.
Visit www.royal-leamington-spa.co.uk for further details.
Community groups keen to be involved can contact BID Leamington by emailing [email protected] or calling 01926 470634.