Lantern Parade: Thanks, Reflections and Questions

Helped by marvelous weather, this year’s Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade had the highest attendance ever. The circle of lights sparkled around the pond, and visions of fulfillment danced in our heads.

Thank you to the people who came and surrounded the pond with their lights and to those who made or bought lanterns, held house parties and bought lantern kits and thereby supported the event. Thanks to the Jamaica Pond Project, the Boston Park Rangers, Courageous Sailing and to our solid supporters throughout the years: City Feed and Supply, Equal Exchange, Mount Washington Bank, Fiore’s Bakery, Amir’s Catered Foods and Boing! JP’s Toy Shop. For many years Highland Farms in Holliston has been donating the apples, which John Robinson and Leroy Stoddard make into cider. Josh Diers made delicious empanadas with tofu from 21st Century Foods. Thanks to Northeastern University student volunteers for cutting all the bottles, which were donated (as always) by PlastiPak. Thanks to the band, Opposite People, who kept us dancing! Thanks to the Spontaneous volunteers, too many to mention by name. The Lantern Parade would not have sparkled so without all these contributions. Finally, a special thanks to Mark Pelletier, the coordinator, who volunteered twice as many hours as he was paid for. It takes Festival Fools to keep the traditions alive.

The continuously growing popularity of the Lantern Parade leads us to ask two important questions.

First: Could the event get too crowded and therefore lose some of its unique inspiration? Spontaneous Celebrations and the Jamaica Pond Project, the organizers of the event, are wondering how to ensure that the spirit of the event remains intact and that the pond’s environment is respected. We have considered expanding the event to a Saturday and Sunday weekend, thereby responding also to requests from many parents of school-age children for a Saturday parade. We would also like to work to make the parade even more inviting to everyone in our community.

Second: How can we get even more volunteer help for next year? One aspect of this concern is that the growing event, whether on one evening or two, demands more organizing, making, doing, planning, cooking and cranking. Another aspect is that a significant number of the core of parade organizers has been contributing their efforts for at least two decades. We, as a community, need to find more folks eager to learn about and take on some of the major parade organizational tasks.

Anyone who wants to help maintain and enhance our community’s celebrations of togetherness, our environment and our hopes, should check out the volunteer listings for Spontaneous Celebrations in the Happenings section of the Gazette.

Femke Nijdam Rosenbaum
Spontaneous Celebrations
Jamaica Plain

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