The 2014 Lantern Walk on December 21 was a great success, with over 100 people in attendance (some counted over 200)! Community members began showing up around 6pm, just after dark, and by the time the walk started down Hett St., toward Wilhelm, the crowd had grown to fill an entire city block at a time. After rounding several blocks, the walkers returned to the starting point by about 7:30pm.
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The MHBPNA coordinated with the City of Kitchener and Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro to turn off the street lights in the neighbourhood, making the streets extra dark on this already dark and clear night. Refreshments were served (hot apple cider) prior to the walk, and a local carolling group provided an excellent musical performance! In a speech prior to setting off, participants were reminded that the walk was an opportunity to reflect on the year past and coming, and on the importance of finding peace during the busy holiday season.
Of course, no overview of the Lantern Walk would be complete without mentioning the lanterns themselves! Of these, a wide variety of shapes, sizes and designs were on display. From the hollow, ice-globes housing tea-lights along the boulevard to the oversized rectangular paper lantern that served as the central beacon around which revellers gathered, the lanterns lit up the darkened streets and provided a very enchanting experience.
Many were built around mason jars, which seemed to be the easiest and safest method to creating your own lantern. But everybody added their own embellishments to make their mason jar lantern truly their own.
One really special lantern looked just like a ‘Despicable Me’ minion. Cool!
Last but certainly not least, who could forget the giant white dove that led the walk down the street. Hoisted on sticks held by three supporters, the dove lantern was a suiting icon for the message of peace the organizers’ wished to convey (if a slightly awkward one to carry down the street!).
We at the MHBPNA, and in the community, would like to gratefully thank the organizers of this very enjoyable event, including Sarah Anderson who has been at the helm for the past two years. Several local businesses helped out and the City of Kitchener supported us with funding and organizational help. We are eagerly looking forward to taking part in the 2015 Lantern Walk! Happy New Year!