Local News

Image by Adam Hourigan

Lawrence Loves… a magical lantern parade

The community turned out in large numbers for Saturday evening’s lantern parade in Lawerence, prompting one attendee to comment that it, “was wonderful to soak up the music, the happy vibes and participate in that magical lantern parade!”

The morning kicked off with a busy scone making session at the Lawrence Public Hall, hosted by Maclean CWA, with the mouth-watering aroma of fresh baking wafting across the festival site.

The inviting atmosphere was further enhanced at the start of the afternoon, by a trio of singer songwriters – Geoff Paull, Sarah McKenna and Charlie Davis – sharing the stage and taking turns to perform original compositions.

Soon afterwards, Yaegl Elder and Councillor for the North Coast Region of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Auntie Diane Randall, conducted a Welcome to Country ceremony in which she reinforced the message around reconciliation. She then invited visitors to have a yarn with her community members at one of the food stalls serving bush tucker burgers and stew.

The food stalls were a hit, with the RFS cooking hundreds of sausage sandwiches, I Scream scooping until tubs emptied and the lemon myrtle roo burgers, prepared by Loving Spoonful Productions, selling out in a matter of hours.

While the rain drizzled lightly through the late afternoon, parents brought umbrellas and great enthusiasm in support of their children’s performances, with delightful songs and dances presented by Lawrence pre-school, the primary school and the Maclean Scottish Town Dance Troupe.

The various community organization stalls, as well as the lantern and wattle ball workshops, were busy all day, with locals exploring and learning about the passions of other locals. Meanwhile, children enjoyed an outdoor wonderland featuring cuddly alpacas, circus juggling and balancing games, giant Jenga, bean bag throw and Connect Four.

As the clouds dispersed to reveal a gentle yellow sunset, crowd numbers swelled for the lantern parade. Hundreds of colourfully decorated box lanterns glowed with dancing patterns formed by internal candles. Three large feature lanterns – a fishing trawler, a ‘lantern’ fish and a scale model of the Lawrence Ferry, complete with cars – shone brightly, causing wonderment and much camera clicking. The procession snaked past the Memorial Park boat ramp with lantern light reflecting in the mirror-like Clarence River, before gathering for a mass photo opportunity.

The wow factor of the lantern parade was then turned up another notch by a dazzling fire twirling display by Mallika – Goddess of the Flame and her companions, after which the remaining audience kicked back to enjoy another round of food, soundtracked by yet more local bands.

Noting their gratitude to the Yulgilbar Foundation for their generous funding, Lawrence Community Fundraising Inc. committee member Robyn Martyn summarized, “What a wonderful day. The community needed this and loved every minute.”

Head to lawrencecommunityfundraising.com.au to see how you can help with future events.