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Polar bear and bells in Rhiwbina lantern parade

Lantern Parade in December 2016

NOW the clocks have gone back, Rhiwbina residents are turning their thoughts to the annual lantern parade, part of the village’s Christmas Festival.

Organiser Genevieve Loxton says last year’s showstopper, a giant polar bear constructed from willow and paper, has been brought out of hibernation ready for the parade on December 2.

This year will be the fifth time residents prepare and parade handmade lanterns through the streets. The polar bear is just one of many willow and paper lantern structures which will be on show.

“We’ve had elephants, fish, snowmen, rockets, polar bears, birds and more,” say organisers, who are challenging residents to make even more exciting creations at home or as part of half-term sessions at The Art Workshop in Rhiwbina.

This year the lanterns will be fitted with bells.

“We want everyone to come out and make some noise,” said Ms Loxton.  

Willow owl created by Sandy Williams

Willow and paper owl lantern created by Sandy Williams

Eagle-eyed villagers may have spotted a giant owl and trumpet fish guarding the doorway outside The Art Workshop.  The owl was made two years ago by Rhiwbina resident Sandy Williams who attended the lantern-making workshops. She explained the natural properties of the willow make it a flexible tool and this inspired her design as it ‘suggested the shape of the owl’.  Although Sandy set out with a vague idea for the owl, she admitted that it was a largely case of ‘make it up as you go along’ and that ‘they just sort of happen’.

The Rhiwbina Festival will see the lantern procession pass through the village, beginning and ending at The Art Workshop. The event began in 2012 as a small group of dedicated people standing in the rain according to the organiser Genevieve Loxton.  But it has continued to grow over the years, and last year saw over 400 people line the streets as the procession went past. Last year the number of people and lanterns meant that the front of the procession caught up with the back said Sandy.  

Lantern Parade in December 2016

Lantern Parade in December 2016

The village will be brought to life by the lantern parade as well as a range of stalls and street food and many local businesses will stay open late.  Everyone is encouraged to get involved by constructing their own willow creations.    Lantern-making workshops are being held throughout the October half-term at The Art Workshop for children and adults alike.  For younger children, there will also be a ‘Little People Lantern Decorating workshop’ held in the historic Wendy House in Rhiwbina.  

The festival is a community event and all workshop events are not-for-profit with any surplus proceeds going straight back into the Rhiwbina Village Events Fund.

The family or group workshops are being held 10am-1pm on Tuesday 31st October, Wednesday 1st November and Thursday 2nd November at The Art Workshop studio, Lon Fach, Rhiwbina.  They cost £25 per large lantern made, which includes all materials and LED lights.  

The Little People workshops are held on the same days between 10am and 11am or 11:30am and 12:30pm and cost £10.

To book onto any of the sessions, contact the workshop at theartworkshop@live.co.uk or 07947 003111/ 07561 507638 or visit the website www.theartworkshop.co.uk.

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