Second Festival Of Light A Big Success

festival of light 2014Saturday’s 2nd Scilly Festival of Light was a big success, according to organisers and participants.

Around 125 people took part in the parade through Hugh Town on Saturday evening, to showcase homemade lanterns depicting a rat, gannet, swan, tern, phoenix and sea gull.

Over 40 handheld lanterns complemented the designs, made in special arts workshops during half term.

The Council’s Children’s Services team commissioned the event and expert advice was sought from Reg Payn and his Articulate colleagues, who organised the first Scilly event as well as similar lantern festivals on the mainland.

Joel says the visitors were impressed by the skills of those who made lanterns.

This year’s programme was more diverse then the first, two years ago.

Music featured heavily and the programme included singing with the Memory Café group.

The evening session in the Bishop and Wolf pub attracted around 100 people, many of whom wouldn’t normally get involved, Joel says.

The festival was timed to coincide with half term to bring people together at a time when there isn’t a huge amount going on.

In total, around 350 people engaged with the activities.

This year’s theme of birds was chosen to highlight the work being done to eradicate rats on St Agnes through the Seabird Recovery Project. It aims to protect rare seabird colonies from the rodents.

One of the most talked about creations was a rat, complete with bright red, luminous eyes.

That keepsake will be displayed at St Agnes’ Turks Head pub.

John Cleave, who is a member of mainland sea-shanty group Fishermen’s Friends, led the storytelling workshops with his character, a herring gull called Gully.

Gully has been “adopted” by the Five Islands School.

John told Radio Scilly that he was impressed with how much the youngsters knew about birds.

The children he spoke to were knowledgeable about Manx shearwater and storm petrel, and understood where they nested and about their distinctive behaviour, he said.

Joel says the enthusiasm shown by the families and individuals who turned up to make lanterns and then watch them get illuminated was his personal highlight of the event.

The climax to the festival was a short firework display from the Mincarlo garden.

Joel says the Council would love to try and repeat this event again, if the authority is in a position to do so.

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