Halloween and Bonfire Night may have been and gone, but those of you still pining for autumnal outdoor activities need not despair, as the Truro City of Lights returns this week (Wednesday 20th of November).
The beginning of the festive season in Cornwall, Truro’s midwinter lantern festival is a dazzling procession of willow-stick-and-tissue lanterns; handmade by artists, schools and community groups, through the streets of Truro. The visual spectacle is accompanied by live music and dance including samba, brass bands and pipes and drums.
The founders of the festival were a cadre of local artists who wanted to create a new tradition for Truro and set about creating unique and distinctive lanterns made from willow and opaque paper. Exploring ancient traditions of procession and storytelling, the festival heralds the start of Winter with a display of light.
The parade has grown over the years and now welcomes more than 30,000 people to the city streets just for one day. Local artists and makers guide schools and community groups to design lanterns that reflect their own stories. This year’s theme is “Under the Clock Tower”
The event taps into the great Cornish storytelling tradition. The UK’s most westerly county is rich in myth and legend – the City of Lights festival helps to continue this tradition in Cornwall’s only city.
This year’s procession sets off from the Richard Lander Monument, down Lemon Street onto Boscawen Street and along River Street. The lanterns will then loop around Little Castle Street onto Kenwyn Street, go through Victoria Square back to Boscawen Street, and make their way via Princes Street and Green Street to Lemon Quay.
This year’s festival will coincide with the turning-on of the Truro Christmas lights – creating a night of illumination to banish the gloom of the coming winter.