New venue for Lismore's iconic Lantern Parade in 2021

Lantern Parade Artistic Director Jyllie Jackson and her team are busily preparing for next month's event at Lismore Showgrounds. Photo: Kate O'Neill.
Lantern Parade Artistic Director Jyllie Jackson and her team are busily preparing for next month's event at Lismore Showgrounds. Photo: Kate O'Neill.

The 2017 Lismore Lantern Parade was like a beacon of hope for the community.

Just a few months earlier, a massive flood had swept through the town, leaving a trail of destruction and heartache in its wake.

"We got smashed and so did everyone in Lismore," says Lantern Parade artistic director Jyllie Jackson.

"But we came back with the parade and the fiery finale which told the story of the flood.

The 2017 Lantern Parade Fiery Finale

The 2017 Lantern Parade Fiery Finale

"It was cathartic and it was celebratory.

"And I think that's one of our roles."

After the disruption of COVID, Jyllie believes this year's parade will be just as important for Lismore and the region.

COVID restrictions mean the 27th annual event can't take place it the CBD, but a new venue has been found at the Lismore Showgrounds, where there is ample space and plenty of vantage points.

This year's theme is Innovation, Inspiration and Regeneration, and the parade will be combined with an expo at the Showgrounds showcasing local business.

"This has been a time when everything kind of stopped...but we have hopes still that this is an opportunity to do things differently. To have a better world, to care for our environment and care for each other in a better way," Jyllie says of the theme.

Crowd favourite, The Queen of Hearts, at the 2017 Lantern Parade

Crowd favourite, The Queen of Hearts, at the 2017 Lantern Parade

Like many, LightnUp - the organisation that puts on the parade - has suffered financial losses due to the pandemic and is still short of volunteers and paid workers for this year's event. But Jyllie is determined to make it happen.

"We are fundamentally about making people feel good, about bringing people together, without any politics and without agendas. It's about opening our hearts. And in times of stress it's really important to have those moments."