On Thursday 7th December a procession of handmade lanterns in the style of Roahl Dahl’s most loved characters were paraded through Bexleyheath Broadway by local children. This event marked Bexley’s first ever winter parade promoted as ‘Let It Glow.’

The parade was the culmination of weeks of preparation and involvement of Bexley residents themselves and internationally renowned artist and curator Tessa Garland. These pop-up workshops in partnership with Bexley Business Improvement District and led by Tessa herself ran every Saturday commencing on October 28th for 6 weeks at the former Bensons Bed shop in Market Place and were free to attend. During the workshops Tessa worked with local children to handcraft the lanterns for the event using Bexley’s former resident Roald Dahl as the sole inspiration.

Marcel Baettig, Chief Executive of Bow Arts said; “Bow Arts was delighted to produce Bexley’s first lantern parade. Seeing the hard work of local children over the past six weeks come together in such animated fashion with entire families joining in made it special evening for everyone involved.”

The show stopper lantern was an oversized illuminated figure of Willy Wonka operated by Tessa that led the parade for another 40 handmade lanterns. The participators of the parade were made up of awe-stuck children and Thursday ‘late night’ shoppers who marched the Broadway on this winter’s night accompanied by a professional steel drum band and the warmth of Christmas Carols.

Arts, crafts and food stalls additionally lined the Broadway to provide a unique experience for shoppers on the night. Here original pieces from artists such as Molly Quest, Kay Davis and Rebecca Hathaway were for sale alongside alternative and original handmade gifts. Internationally exhibited inventor and artist Stephen Guy also gave demonstrations on how to create automated sculptures.

Tony Garratt, Manager of the Bexleyheath Business Improvement District said; “It was fantastic to see so many excitable young families taking part in this inaugural event. We can now look forward to more collaborative working on future events for the better of Bexleyheath and the local community.”