Let it glow, let it glow, let it glow…

Let it Glow - Bexley's Winter Lantern Parade

We will have every reason to be full of Christmas cheer when the borough’s first ever ‘Let it Glow’ lantern parade makes its way through the Broadway, Bexleyheath from 5pm on Thursday 7 December. 

Local children that are currently taking part in the free pop-up lantern making workshops run by Bow Arts will be taking their creations out to light up the High Street.  The parade will take place along the pedestrianised area on the Broadway. It will begin and end at 4-5 Marketplace in the Broadway near the Christmas Tree and opposite Starbucks.

A special arts and crafts fair, with food stalls will be part of the event, offering a unique festive shopping experience, alongside late night shopping in several shops on the Broadway and in The Mall.  Traders will include Kay Davis, a graduate of Central Saint Martins based in South London, whose paintings and illustrations are based on childhood memories and Caribbean culture. Kay will also have hand painted fashion items that will only available at the fair. There will also be the chance to see a small collective of international artists called “Point and Place” who have developed an original board game called Hexagons, a memory game using original artworks and photographic images.

A special food offering will be on hand thanks to Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency and much more. 

Cabinet Member for Community, Environment and Leisure, Cllr Peter Craske said; “These workshops have been really popular with local children so far and I can’t wait to see their proud faces carrying the brightly lit lanterns along the Broadway. We want to ‘Let it Glow’ and we definitely don’t want the weather outside to be frightful!”

Tony Garratt, Manager of the Bexleyheath Business Improvement District said; “It’s been fantastic to see this alternative use of a prime unit in our high street and hope this cultural change is a sign of greater things to come. We are excited to see that the final parade will supplement our late night Thursday offering and would encourage young families to try something a little different.”

Marcel Baettig, Chief Executive of Bow Arts said; “‘Let it Glow’ lantern parade is set to be a key cultural event in everyone’s calendars, and we’re really looking forward to seeing the result of weeks of hard work by Bexley’s young creative people with internationally renowned artist Tessa Garland. We want to make sure that everyone enjoys themselves - whether taking part in the parade, or soaking up the festive atmosphere.”

Cllr Craske continues; “Projects like this are just another reason why we deserve to be London Borough of Culture. Our focus on creativity, heritage and arts across the Bexley make us the best choice for the title in 2019.”

The free pop-up workshops will continue to take place every Saturday from 11am to 4pm at 4-5 Market Place, Broadway, Bexleyheath DA6 7DU until 2 December.

The workshops are using the works of previous Bexley resident and world famous author Roald Dahl and characters such as Willy Wonka as inspiration. Internationally renowned artist, Tessa Garland, is working with local children each week, showing them the skills they need to create and personalise their own lantern. Children can make as many lanterns as they want and don’t have to complete them in one workshop. They can return as many times as they need until their creation is complete. They will then get the chance to show them off during the ‘Let it Glow’ parade while wearing their favourite costumes.

Bexleyheath Town Centre improvement work along Gravel Hill will stop in the run-up to Christmas to make it easier to access the town centre. Work will restart in early January. 

The Council launched its bid to become London’s first ever borough of Culture in October. If successful, Bexley and another winning borough will be awarded more than £1 million from the Mayor of London to shine a spotlight on what makes them special and unique, using creativity and the arts to celebrate their distinctive character. 

Visit the Bexley Culture website to find out more and follow @whatsoninbexley and the hashtag #backthebexleybid
You can also show your support by voting for Bexley in the ITV poll to see which borough should be named London Borough of Culture.