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Children urged to make Christmas lanterns to carry in parade
It may only be the beginning of October, but youngsters in Tamworth in Staffordshire are already being asked to think of Christmas. They are being invited to attend free drop-in workshops taking place in the town's main Ankerside Shopping Centre where they will be able to make special lanterns to carry in this year's Christmas Lantern parade in Tamworth. The parade of children walking through Tamworth Castle Grounds carrying lanterns is a key part of the town's annual Christmas Lights Festival and will make its way to St Editha's Square in time for the switching on of the lights on Sunday 24 November. All children across the town are invited to take part in the parade and help launch the festive season in style.
The lantern-making workshops will take place in Ankerside Shopping Centre on Saturday 26 October and Saturday 16 November with sessions being held at 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm each day. The workshops will be led by popular Tamworth artist, Maggie Carney, who will be on hand to help children build and paint a card lantern to carry in the parade. Youngsters are then invited to collect their lanterns at the start of the parade on November 24. Timings and parade route will be confirmed with those taking part nearer the time. This year the aim is to create a parade that represents the 12-days of Christmas, with the involvement of 12 different community groups. Families are invited to join the project on the workshop dates and make a smaller lantern that they can carry on the day of the parade. Children will have the opportunity to join in a sing-a-long at the main stage in St Editha's Square, Tamworth, with Touch FM, before beginning the parade route which will pass through Ankerside to the bandstand in the Castle Grounds where the lanterns will be joined together to make a Christmas tree shape, and the smaller lanterns forming a Christmas present display.
The annual Christmas Lights Festival, sponsored by Ankerside Shopping Centre, starts at 1pm and promises a packed afternoon of festive fun for the whole family. Activities include fairground rides, live music and dance performances, Christmas market, walk about 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. 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. More information is available by visiting www.tamworth.gov.uk/Christmas-tree-festival.
Councillor John Chesworth, Tamworth Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Operational Services & Culture, said: "We all look forward to the annual Christmas Lights Festival as it marks the start of the main countdown to Christmas. This is an incredibly popular event in our calendar of free entertainment for residents and visitors and it's a lovely festive day out."
Some of the previous lanterns on display
More information is available from Tamworth Borough Council's Arts & Events team by emailing TARartsdevelopment@tamworth.gov.uk, or calling 01827 709314.