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Local children make colourful lanterns for festive parade
Children in Staffordshire got into the festive spirit early by enrolling in a series of free drop-in workshops where they made special lanterns to carry in this year's Christmas Lantern Parade in Tamworth. The parade of children walking through Tamworth Castle Grounds carrying glow stick lanterns is a key part of the town's annual Christmas Lights Festival. The procession will make its way to St Editha's Square in Tamworth town centre in time for the switching on of the festive lights on Sunday 25 November. Every child across Tamworth has been invited to take part in the parade and help launch the festive season in style.
Children were invited to a lantern making workshop
The series of lantern-making workshops took place over two days in Tamworth's Ankerside Shopping Centre, with the help of local artist Maggie Carney who was on hand to help children build and decorate a card lantern to carry in the parade. Youngsters taking part in the workshops were invited to get creative by adding Christmas sparkles, glitter and stickers to customise their lantern. They are invited to collect their finished lanterns, which will be fitted with glow sticks and mounted on six-foot canes, from the Castle Grounds Bandstand at the start of the parade on November 25. Maggie, who was the leading artist on this summer's hugely successful Mercian Mosaic project, said: "More than 50 children of all ages had a great couple of days producing fantastic lantern designs. What a fabulous response with everyone enjoying lots of fun and creativity. Thank you to everyone that helped; I look forward to seeing all the children return on Sunday, November 25, for the parade." An additional 40 lanterns were also completed by pupils from St Leonard's Primary School in Wigginton and a group at St Francis Church in Leyfields.
Some of the completed lanterns on display
The annual Christmas Lights Festival starts at 2pm with activities including fairground rides, live music and dance performances, a Christmas market, walkabout 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 2pm. The festival, sponsored by Ankerside Shopping Centre, will also have a special guest in the form of Peter Rabbit™, who will be making appearances at intervals throughout the day and during the main event at 5pm when the lights are switched on. And of course, Father Christmas himself will also be joining in the fun and excitement. 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. There will also be a selection of stalls along the main high street, offering festive food, crafts and gifts.
The lanterns will feature in a special festive parade
The annual free 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. More information is available from Tamworth Borough Council's Arts & Events team by emailing TARartsdevelopment@tamworth.gov.uk, or calling 01827 709314.