Get the most from tomorrow's Lantern Parade

Hey kids!  

It's happening!  Tomorrow!  


So here are the final bits and pieces you need to know, to make sure you make the most of tomorrow's event. 


1. Get the right time and place

This is Sam Beckett.  Don't be like Sam.  Know where you are going to go and when.  

As you have probably seen from various signs out and about, the roads along the Parade route close at 3pm (with an exception - more on that later).  The event starts at 4pm, with the actual Parade moving off from St Francis Church at about 430.  We will follow the route (North Street - Cannon Street - British Road - South Street) to finish up at Compass Point, where we will be enjoying a firework display in South Street Park, care of Skyburst the Firework Company at about 6.


2. There's always an exception to the rule, here's ours

Hopefully by now you have seen that we have not been able to close the entire route off, so we are likely to be walking against on-coming traffic.  

The affected part of the route is North Street from the junction with Luckwell Road, down to the junction with Dean Lane and Cannon Street.

We have a safety plan in place and we have previously run the event with a lot more areas being open to traffic, so all will be fine and dandy, but we need to remind everybody to be vigilant and safe on those sections.  And please make sure you follow any instructions our Marshals and Stewards might give you.  They are there to help keep everybody safe.

3. Entertainment

^^Wow, I could watch that for hours but you lucky people are going to have some actual top quality entertainment, care of our Lantern Troubadors.  In addition to the fantastic Parade bands, we have a number of splendid musicians on the streets for you enjoyment all kicking off at 4pm.

  • Outside the Natwest on North Street we have The Road Zombies
  • Just by the Hen & Chicken and Zazu's Kitchen, you can enjoy Chris Webb's music
  • Get a wriggle on down to the Hungry Caterpillar to check out Hurry Up Harry.
  • Up by Besley Hill you can listen to the catchy melodies and simple guitar sounds of Aubrey Dye.


4. It's cold!

It's going to be cold and dark, so make sure you wear warm comfortable clothing and sensible footwear. You know the drill....


 5. Keep your kids safe

No unaccompanied children.  I don’t think that needs any further explanation.  

And think long and hard about bringing pets. There’s no rule against you bringing along your pet, but it will be noisy and crowded and there will be fireworks at the end, so they might not thank you for it.  Maybe leave them at home if you are worried.


6. Safety first!  



If you are walking in the Parade, make sure you keep within the Parade (you don’t want to get lost or go the wrong way) and please follow the instructions from our lovely stewards who are there to help make sure the Parade goes smoothly and safely. On top of that, make sure you follow any instructions the Route Masters, Safety Officer or Parade Leader give you.


While the Parade looks totally awesome, if you are not a registered participant, please don’t join in.  It is actually really dangerous to do so and causes total chaos.


When you are watching said awesomeness, you might see friends or family on the opposite side of the road.  If the Parade is already passing you, please do not try to nip across to say hello.  Just wait until the back end of the Parade has passed you. 


And, of course, there's the whole partial road closure thing.  Please be vigilant and take care on the section that might have moving traffic on it.


7. Don't forget your...

You really don't!  Bedminster is full of so many great places to eat and drink, so make sure that you sample some of the fine wares that the area has to offer.  On top of that, there’ll be a number of food and drink stalls at the end of the route, including the fabulous Hopper Coffee van.  

And  also, the #bemmylanterns gang have a crack team of bucket-carrying Parade volunteers walking along the route with the Parade.  They have a really important job of raising funds that will help cover the costs of the Parade (which is run entirely by volunteers, including yours truly).  Any dosh you bung into the buckets will help ensure the books are balanced and if there is any surplus, a local charity will get it.


8. Share you experience of the Parade

This year we want to see what you see.  Please take loads of pics and videos and tweet us (@bemmylanterns), share to our official Facebook group or the official event page, using the hashtag #bemmylanterns or even email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And don't forget to check out our brand new Instagram space.

I'll put a gallery of some of the highlights up here, so bung stuff  our way.

Ok, that's it. See you tomorrow!

Love from the #bemmylanterns team x

2016 Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade Photos

Here is a selection of some of the beautiful photos that the #bemmylanterns team took, along with some pictures that some Parade-goers took on the night and posted to the Facebook group or event.

Thanks to: Matthew Symonds, Alan May, Lorraine Fairbanks, Tina Elder, Lisa Madge, Jackie Smith, Andrew Beale and Jeremy Fennell for bringing their ace photography skills.

If you have any photos you'd like to add to the gallery, drop us a line via the Facebook group or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we'll add them to the gallery.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

2016 (rescheduled) Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade lit up the streets (finally)

Wow, what a day!  Saturday 21st started bright and clear – such a contrast from the Parade’s original date – and early for the #bemmylanterns team.  Yours truly had the easy job of a quick interview with BBC Radio Bristol, whilst the rest of the team were getting preparations under way.  It was so peaceful and still at St Francis Church that morning...

...but not for long!

The giant lanterns were picked up from secret locations across Bedminster to be brought to St Francis Church for final construction by the artists, whilst other members of the crew worked on the other vital jobs including the final muster layout; deployment of the volunteer stewards, marshals and collectors; reviewing and checking off all safety points; and putting the finishing touches to the other entertainments. 

By the time I got to St Francis Church in the early afternoon, the whole place was buzzing!  Big tarps on the front lawn were gradually filling with the schools’ and community groups’ beautiful creations, the hall was filling with the musicians, and the team and volunteers in high viz were buzzing around purposefully like dedicated raver bees.


St Francis Road – the main site for the parade mustering – gradually began to fill the Parade groups, the usual splendid schools and community groups: 

• Southville Centre Monday Club and Nursery • Parson Street Primary • Ashton Vale Primary • Southville Primary • Luckwell Primary • Ashton Gate Primary • Holy Cross Primary • St Mary Redcliffe Primary • Compass Point Primary • Victoria Park Primary  

And for the first time we welcomed Ashton Park School with their fantastic Pokémon lanterns, the 255th Scouts and the fantastic Bemmy Mix group, made up from individual enthusiastic lantern makers.

And last (but not least) the incredible Girl, the Moth & the Light, the animated lanterns produced as part of a South West wide project led by the Bedminster Winter Lanterns group, and funded by the Arts Council


By the time everybody had made their way to the starting line, the area was completely filled with kids, adults and lanterns.


Meanwhile over at Lanterns HQ (aka the gazebo on the front lawn), the collectors were stretching and lunging to avoid any strained or pulled muscles from carrying all those donations in buckets along the route.

The artists were starting to move the lanterns down to the muster point, and the musicians were gathering in the Church.  I was glaring at the sky and wishing it would hurry up and get a bit darker and/or more cloudy.  A dreadful thing to wish for, given the awful weather we experienced last time, we needed it to be a bit less bright and lovely to get the full impact of the Lanterns.  

Fortunately, by the time the start of the Parade rolled around, it was starting to get a bit gloomy, so we were ready to go!

 As ever, the start of the Parade was heralded by the sweet, sweet rhythms of Bristol Samba - Bloco Carnavalesco.  A little known fact about the #bemmylanterns team, but when we hear the samba kick in, all the planning, effort and worry melt away. We get a little buzz and the a general feeling of “Yep, THIS is what it’s all about.  TOTALLY worth it!”


And then, finally, the event was ready to go.  Malcolm, the Chair of the #bemmylanterns committee, expertly coordinated the Parade set up and we were off!

We were very lucky to have some reporters from the Bristol Post at the Parade, broadcasting live.  So if you didn’t get to see the event in person, here’s a little bit of the Parade, just for you.

And here’s a link to another Bristol Post story and video

Some of the BEDMINSTER crew were there too, and took some lovely vids, including this one

To see more awesome photos of the event, go check out the 2016 gallery.

So, as you can see, we got there!  The 2016 Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade finally lit up the streets of Bedminster!  

We wound up, as ever, on South Street, where the kind people of Compass Point Primary opened their gates so their playground could be a final viewing spot for the Lanterns, a place to get a delicious coffee from Hopper Coffee and, of course, the perfect spot to watch firework finale by Skyburst!  (thanks to the BEDMINSTER crew again for the video).


So there you have it.  Another splendid Lantern Parade done and dusted. We have a whole bunch of thanks to splash about, as well as the vital picking of the winner for the bottle of prosecco raffle prize. 

More on those anon, but in the meantime

Thank you everbody who was involved and hope to see you next time?

Love from the #bemmylanterns team. xoxo


Road closure update for 21 January 2017

Over the past couple of years we have been able to secure permission for a completely traffic free route for our Parade on St Francis Rd, North St, Cannon St, British Rd and part of South St. We applied for this pattern of road closure for Saturday 21st January, but the Council’s road diversion plan linked to work for the implementation of Metrobus services through Bedminster has prevented us from closing the entire route.


There's a change for Saturday

While most of our route has received official permission for total road closure. there is a crucial part of the Parade route which has NOT been granted total closure so we may have to walk against the flow of on-coming traffic.

This area is North St from the junction with Luckwell Rd down to the junction with Dean Lane/Cannon St.

This belatedly-enforced arrangement means that we will be putting in place additional safely measures to keep the Parade safe, though or team of volunteer Stewards, and Complete Traffic Control, a company which has responsibility for road signage on the day.


What does this mean?

If you are…

  • a participant in the Parade, please take extra care during this part of the Parade, and make sure you follow any instructions you are given by Parade Marshals and Stewards.
  • a lovely person coming along to watch the Parade, please do make sure you are vigilant on that part of the route.  Keep you and yours safe!


After December’s weather postponement we’re all looking forward to taking to the streets next Saturday, with what we know will be the biggest, most colourful and most musical community Parade there has been to date.


See you Saturday! 

Love from the #bemmylanterns team x