by Mickey Smith
Hyde Park Elementary School students from pre-K to sixth grade paraded around the school grounds and down Main Street with lanterns they built as part of their annual winter celebration on Wednesday, December 5.
Artist Gowri Savoor has been helping in HPES art teacher Matt Neckers’ art class in preparation for the parade of more than 250 paper lanterns of all shapes and sizes. Savoor has helped coordinate lantern parades in communities in both the US and UK, including the River of Light Lantern Parade in Waterbury.
This year there is a school wide theme of “Into the Woods,” so the lantern parade included a trip into the woods behind the elementary school. The path was lined with 140 luminaries, lighting the way for the students who marched down. The younger students made lanterns they could easily hold in their hands, while the other ones had lanterns hanging from sticks. Several larger sized lanterns were constructed as well and carried by groups of students. In the woods, students sang Christmas carols around a bonfire and then gathered back at the school before marching down Main Street to the Court House.
Parents, family members and friends were encouraged to take part as well. Some walked down to the bonfire, while others looked for vantage points along the playground to take pictures of the parade of lights.