Dazzling lantern parade kick starts Hartlepool Wintertide Festival
Dazzling lanterns lit up the Headland for the start of Hartlepool Wintertide Festival.
Hundreds of people turned out for the opening parade when 70 children from St Bega’s and St Helen’s primary schools and their families walked from the Heugh Battery Museum to the Town Square for the start of the three day event.
Buildings are once again bathed in light and imagery and families gathered around the stage to see Santa switch on the Christmas lights.
The parade was led by Hartlepool-based artist Greener Lavelle’s impressive money puppet.
She led the way followed by the children and their impressive hand made lanterns.
Vicky Jackson, chair of the festival, said: “Some of the lanterns are from last week’s Durham Lumiere Festival and this year we have had families signing up as well.”
Rachel Laycock, of Bloom In Art, who are one of the festival organisers, added: “The theme for the lanterns this year has been ‘I Am’ looking at identity.
“I think they look beautiful. Everybody did so well.”
Crowds gathered in the town square where there is a Christmas market and children’s fairground rides by Murphy’s Funfair.
Jemma Palmer’s daughter Lucy Stockton, aged nine, who goes to St Bega’s took part in the parade with cousin Willow Winspear also nine.
Jemma, also mum to 16-year-old MJ, said: “They have done it every year since they started. They love doing all the prep.
“It has been really well organised this year.”
Willow’s mum Zoe Winspear, of Dyke House, Hartlepool, who was there with her other children Logan, two, and Esme, six, added: “It’s part of our Christmas tradition. This is the start for us.”
Switching on the lights, Santa told the children: “The work you have put into these lanterns is nothing short of amazing.
“I can’t wait to see what you do next year.”
Hartlepool Stage Society Juniors and Hartlepool Sixth Form College got people in the festive spirit by singing Christmas music on the main stage.
It culminates on Sunday with a fireworks finale on the Town Wall at 6pm.
See www.wintertidefestuk.com for full details.