Youngsters are being invited to attend free drop-in workshops taking place in Ankerside Shopping Centre, where they will be able to make special lanterns to carry in this year’s Christmas Lantern parade in Tamworth.
The parade of children walking through the Castle Grounds carrying lanterns is a key part of the town’s annual Christmas Lights Festival and will make its way to St Editha’s Square in time for the switching on of the lights on Sunday, November 24.
All children across the town are invited to take part in the parade and help launch the festive season in style.
A series of lantern-making workshops will take place in Ankerside Shopping Centre on Saturday, October 26 and also on Saturday, November 16. Sessions will be at 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm both days.
Workshops will be led by popular Tamworth artist, Maggie Carney, who will be on hand to help children build and paint a card lantern to carry in the parade.
Youngsters are then invited to collect their lanterns at the start of the parade on November 24. Timings and parade route will be confirmed with those taking part nearer the time.
Maggie has been the leading artist with many Tamworth Borough Council art projects, including the hugely successful Mercian Mosaic project and has won the Tamworth Business and Community Awards ‘Citizen of the Year’ accolade last year with her group of volunteers ‘Team Aethelflaed’, receiving recognition in the Community Group of the Year category.
Maggie is looking forward to getting back into the workshop with Tamworth people, with a new spectacular lantern project. Children made a great start at the Art Attack event, creating the new designs for the parade that will represent the 12-days of Christmas, with the involvement of 12 different community groups.
The groups will be involved in making a new and bigger lantern design with each lantern themed with one of the 12-days of Christmas. Families and children are invited to join the project on the workshop dates and make a smaller lantern that they can carry on the day of the parade.
Children will have the opportunity to join in a sing-a-long at the main stage in St Editha’s square with Touch FM, before beginning the parade route which will pass through Ankerside to the Bandstand where the lanterns will be joined together to make a Christmas tree shape, and the smaller lanterns will form a Christmas present display.
Maggie said. “Children of all ages are welcome to pop along on either or both of those days to create a lantern present for the parade. We are also working with 12 local community groups to make the larger lanterns which will be individually themed with one of the 12-days of Christmas. This will make this the biggest and best parade to date!”
The annual Christmas Lights Festival, sponsored by Ankerside Shopping Centre, starts at 1pm and promises another jam-packed afternoon of festive fun for the whole family. Activities include fairground rides, live music and dance performances, Christmas market, walk about characters, a nativity under the Town Hall and face painting.
Entertainment will centre around the Touch FM stage in St Editha’s Square with a variety of live performances from 3pm.
Mark Burbridge, manager at Ankerside Shopping Centre, said: “Last year’s lantern workshop was a brilliant success, with children and their families spending quality time together while creating their masterpieces.
“Our favourite time of the year is fast approaching and it’s a real pleasure to have the community helping us to get ready for all the festivities.”
Also returning is the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Editha’s Church, which invites schools, businesses, local groups and individuals to decorate a tree to be displayed in the church. More information on that is available here: www.tamworth.gov.uk/Christmas-tree-festival
The free Christmas lights switch-on festival is one of the highlights of Tamworth’s impressive calendar of outdoor events and is organised by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team in partnership with Tamworth Christmas Lights Committee. It usually draws thousands of visitors from across the area.
Cllr John Chesworth, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Operational Services & Culture, said: “We all look forward to the annual Christmas Lights Festival as it marks the start of the main countdown to Christmas.
“This is an incredibly popular event in our calendar of free entertainment for residents and visitors and it’s a lovely festive day out. We are again inviting youngsters to really be a part of that with their families by joining the Christmas Lantern parade which also include this year 12 community groups that will design 12 large lanterns that will be displayed at the Bandstand.
“I’d encourage anyone interested to take part in the drop-in workshops being hosted in Ankerside Shopping Centre to not only secure a place in the parade, but also to take advantage of this free creative activity.”
More information is available from Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team by emailing TARartsdevelopment@tamworth.gov.uk, or calling 01827 709314.