Once a year Lismore’s streets are lit up with hundreds of handmade paper lanterns, carried through the town to the collective sounds of awe and cheer, as the annual Lantern Parade brings together the region.
Running for over 20 years now, the Lismore Lantern Parade and Fiery Finale is a volunteer-organised and run event which celebrates everything wonderful about the Northern Rivers region, and marks the Winter Solstice (the longest day of the year).
The Lismore Lantern Parade is the signature event of the year in my hometown region, where thousands of people from across the Northern Rivers come together to mark the Winter Solstice, and to either walk in the parade, perform at the fiery finale, or watch as spectators.
Each year there are new lanterns created, to parade alongside ones that have been star attractions in years past.
Now in it’s 24th year, the Lantern Parade is a seriously fun event – whether you’re watching or participating.
I’m a proud Northern Rivers girl, which you may have gathered from my ongoing Northern Rivers series.
My region is a very beautiful place – there’s no doubt about that.
While I generally tell people I’m from Lismore, I only really say that because it’s a regional centre that more people know the name of, and it’s where I work.
In fact, the truth is I grew up in Alstonville (Until I was 8), and Wollongbar, and apart from stints living in Sydney for study, and in Lismore itself, I’ve lived in the same house in Wollongbar since 2000.
Here’s one random thing you probably didn’t know about me: I grew up around old cars.
A LOT of old cars.
My Dad’s side of the family have been involved with the vintage car club in our region since it’s inception, and so I grew up sitting in the backseat of old Chevy’s and Plymouths.
When I was a child we would spend weekends on car rallies in the car my parents had at the time, a 1929 Chevrolet.
I remember bouncing up and down along bumpy old roads on the weathered leather seats (no seatbelts in these old cars, of course), and the struggle it is was to put the windows in or out – no up or down, no winding down the windows in these old cars, no, the panes were carefully removed from the latches if you wanted some air, and would have to be securely lodged back in if you changed your mind.
If you’ve seen the news over the last week, you may have heard something about “Lismore” and “flood”.
See, last Thursday (Only the day after I filmed that beautiful blue sky down in Ballina) constant rain hit the Northern Rivers, thanks to ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which had earlier hit northern Queensland.
In one day, we received so much rainfall that evacuation orders began being put into place. It was clear we were going to flood. Badly.