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PAPER LANTERNS TO LIGHT UP LOWCOUNTRY SKIES IN CELEBRATION OF COMMUNITY

Twilight is a beautiful time in the Lowcountry: The setting sun sinks below the horizon, turning the sky shades of pink, purple and blue as its rays reflect off the sparkling water.

Add hundreds of twinkling lights — glowing paper lanterns of all shapes and sizes — and you’ve got paradise on earth.

“To see it is to understand it,” said Hilton Head Island resident and local artist Linda Kuhlman of the upcoming Hilton Head Island Lantern Parade, to be held Nov. 9. The parade will begin at Alder Lane beach access and travel up South Forest beach to Coligny Beach Park and the Tiki Hut. 

While the lantern parade, created by and featuring artist Chantelle Rytter, is Hilton Head Island’s first, Rytter just celebrated her 10th annual lantern parade in Atlanta. Attended by more than 75,000, Rytter’s creation has become a highly anticipated event for the community.

“As it started to get dark and the lanterns were lit… it was amazing,” Kuhlman said of a previous lantern parade in Atlanta led by Rytter. “It’s incredible to see what people can turn a paper lantern into. There’s everything from huge bird lanterns pulled by wagons and operated by puppeteers and lanterns with moving parts to kids holding small lanterns they created in day care. I hope our Hilton Head community embraces it because it’s just a fun family experience.”

Risa Prince, another Hilton Head resident and artist, plans to create a 6-foot-tall palmetto tree lantern that she’ll wear on her shoulders so that it hovers over the parade at nearly 11 feet high. 

“I’ve become a community activist, and this is an opportunity to celebrate the best of Hilton Head Island,” Prince said. “It’s a public celebration of good things that are happening in the town. It’s pure joy and celebration.”

Presented by the Town's Office of Cultural Affairs, the lantern parade is a marquee event for Crescendo, the island’s month-long celebration of arts and culture produced by the Arts & Cultural Council of Hilton Head. The parade is also a part of the new public art series sponsored by the town to promote community engagement. 

“I casually knew the artist, Chantelle Rytter, and have participated in the original lantern parade in Atlanta,” said Jennifer McEwen, director of the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “Temporary and performance-based public art installations seemed like an opportunity to fit something new into the island's arts scene. That paired with having no light pollution, a lantern parade was a perfect fit for the community.”

The only requirements to walk in the parade are to have a lantern and to show up. Many Lowcountry residents already are getting started on their lantern creations.  

Local businesses, clubs and neighborhoods also are getting in on the action, hosting both adult-only and family-friendly lantern-making workshops. 

The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina will host a public lantern-making workshop from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 16. The arts center held a similar workshop in August.

“It was so fun to have a room full of children and families working on lanterns,” said Andrea Gannon, the arts center’s vice president of marketing. “We’re really excited to be a part of the lantern parade. It’s unique, wonderful and just brings us all together. We provided the paper globe, crepe paper, streamers, construction paper, markers and bamboo stick to carry it. We had kids creating pirates, unicorns, a turtle, a fish, a horse and even a Seahawks football player. Everyone left with a lantern.” 

MAKE A LANTERN

Family Fun Workshop! Island Celebration Lanterns: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island. 843-842-2787 or www.artshhi.com

Family Fun Night: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 1, The Sandbox: An Interactive Children’s Museum, 18A Pope Ave., Hilton Head Island. 843-842-7645 or www.thesandbox.org

Mitchelville House Lanterns: 1-4 p.m. Nov. 2, Mitchelville Preservation Project, 539 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island. 843-255-7301 or www.exploremitchelville.org.

Adult Self-Portrait Lantern Workshop with Culture HHI: Nov. 2, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., BO ART, 19 Dunnagans Alley, Hilton Head Island. 843-256-8248 or www.boarthhi.com.

Family Friendly Globe Lanterns: 2-5 p.m. Nov. 3, Art League of Hilton Head Academy, 106 Cordillo Parkway, Hilton Head Island. 843-842-5738 or www.artleaguehhi.org.

Parasol Lanterns: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 4, Art League of Hilton Head Academy, 106 Cordillo Parkway, Hilton Head Island. 843-842-5738 or www.artleaguehhi.org.

Family Friendly Sea Turtle Lanterns: 4-6 p.m. Nov. 6, Coastal Discovery Museum, 70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island. 843-689-6767 or www.coastaldiscovery.org.

Adult Sea Turtle Lantern Workshop: 5-7 p.m. Nov. 7, Coastal Discovery Museum, 70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island. 843-689-6767 or www.coastaldiscovery.org.

Globe Lantern Workshop: 10 a.m.-noon Nov. 9, Beach House Resort, 1 South Forest Beach Drive, Hilton Head Island. 843-548-4995 or www.beachhousehhi.com.

ATTEND THE PARADE

Hilton Head Island’s inaugural lantern parade will be held Nov. 9. Lineup for parade participants begins at 6 p.m. at Alder Lane Beach Access, with the parade beginning at 7 p.m. The parade will travel north along South Forest Beach Drive up to Coligny Beach Park. Participants should park at Coligny Beach; a shuttle to Alder Lane Beach Access will be available.