River of Lights Lantern Parade - Span Arts
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River of Lights Lantern Parade

Join Span Arts & The Lab to celebrate the changing of the seasons at the River of Lights lantern procession on 31 October at 6.30pm. People from across the county will gather outside The Lab (old Ocky Whites building) Haverfordwest before walking in the candle-lit lantern procession, that last year saw over 1000 people taking part in.


A participant from last year’s procession described the event as ‘wonderous, magical, stunning and lovely!’ The event is becoming a must for everyone’s autumn calendar, our very own Rowan Matthiessen of Span Arts said, ‘the people of Pembrokeshire have really taken this event to their hearts. It’s delightful to see so many people getting involved in this spectacular event’.   


This year the organisers are challenging the perception that when the shops shut and the sun goes down Haverfordwest becomes a ‘ghost town’; they’re unearthing the extraordinary stories from the past that lurk down each alleyway.


Time and time again Haverfordwest has been reinvigorated by ordinary people who care. Two such extraordinary, ordinary people will be joining the procession this year, carrying gifts from their own time to bestow on the present inhabitants of Pembrokeshire. The first is Joane Cheate who appeared from nowhere in1652; just when the town needed her most!  Working as a plague nurse, she bought kindness and care to strangers and now bestows this gift on the twenty-first century. The second is William Owen, winging his way (with his trusty hound) from Victorian Wales, he was literally instrumental in building the town as the architect of New Bridge and Shire Hall and brings his gift of making things happen to today’s Haverfordwest.


In the lead-up to the event Span Arts’ Cheerful Project are working with artist Toby Downing to host lantern-making workshops around the county from 21 – 30 October.  This is a fantastic opportunity for families to work together to create something special. One mother from a previous workshop said: “Fantastic! … me and my son loved being part of it. Everyone was so helpful, it’s not always easy participating on your own with a young child and baby. There was a real sense of community. My son asked the next day if we could go and do it again!”


In an exciting development this year, parade participants are invited to bring their lanterns back to the Haverhub for an after party. This new community venue will be open 8 till late where music, a bar, refreshments and a fabulous atmosphere will await.  For more information see www.haverhub.org.uk


If you’d like to make a lantern for the parade join one of the workshops, which will take place in various locations including Haverfordwest, Narberth and Maenclochog on 21, 22, 28, 29 and 30 October. Drop-in between 10am-4pm for a suggested donation of £2 per lantern kit. For full details of venues visit www.thelabhaverfordwest.org or www.span-arts.org.uk or call Span Arts on 01834 869323.


Join the parade on Tuesday October 31st, for an experience that you and your family will always remember.