Creatures light up solstice

LISMORE was brought to a standstill by a menagerie of illuminated exotic creatures winding their way through the city centre and enchanting a bumper crowd on Saturday night.

A camel, zebra, lion, koala, kangaroo and scare- crows were among hund- reds of lanterns fashioned from paper and bamboo which bathed the city in soft light during the Lantern Parade.

Crowds were up to 30 deep at some vantage points as onlookers spilled out of eateries and hotels and gathered roadside and on footpaths and roundabouts to drink in the Winter Solstice celebrations.

It being the year of the dragon, the parade was led by Eureka Public school with a 5m-long 2m-high glowing dragon lantern.

The parade appeared to go off without a hitch despite having to be reversed just days out from the event because the normal endpoint, Riverside Park was water-logged.

"This is 'Love more Lismore' and tonight we can feel it," quipped MMayor Jenny Dowell to an expectant crowd in Harold Fred- ericks Car Park.

The car park was so jammed that children perched in trees.

It was the venue for a concert which included fire artists and a fireworks display backed by a live choir.

"We are harvesting the creativity and togetherness we all experience living in this fantastic community," Cr Dowell said of the city's signature event.

Organisers estimate a record 30,000 people turned out for the 19th parade, thanks in part to ideal weather.

Last year's event attracted 27,000 people.

For 18 years Lindsay Matterson has been on the sidelines helping with crowd control.

But this year Lindsay finally got his moment in the spotlight when he and 23 fellow Lismore SES vol- unteers participated in the parade for the first time with a Noah's Ark lantern.

They are already planning next year's lantern.

"What a beautiful night!" Lindsay said, echoing many people's sentiments.

Topics:  camel, creatures, exotic creatures, koala, lantern parade, lion, lismore, solstice




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