Your chance to shine a light at Okehampton Lanterns

15 January 2024

If you’d like to be part of the Okehampton Lanterns procession, then come along to our coffee morning on Saturday 27 January, when you can learn all about the event.

The coffee morning, at Charter Hall in Market Street at 10am, will also have entertainment from Okehampton Community Dance Project and the new Okehampton Street Band, who’ll be leading the procession, which takes place on Saturday 24 February.

Okehampton Lanterns is making a return to the town in 2024, after a break last year. It follows generous support from Okehampton United Charities, South West Water’s Neighbourhood Fund and the In-Step Research team. This year, the theme is a celebration of Okehampton as a town with two rivers.

We are delighted to be coordinating the event. Wren Music’s Creative director, Marilyn Tucker, said: “The coffee morning is a chance for people to come along, ask us questions, and hopefully decide to join us in the procession. In the past, we’ve had well over 100 lanterns, and we’re looking for even more people to take part this year. The town’s Brownies and Girl Guides are with us this year, which we’re delighted about.”

Families can get involved by signing up for the free lantern-making workshops which are happening during half-term, from Monday 12 February to Friday 16 February. The main location for the workshops is Wren Music’s building at Ebenezer Hall, North Street, Monday 12 to Friday 16 February, 10.30am to 12.30pm, and 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Local groups can also get in touch with us if they’d like help with creating lanterns for the event.

Two specialist lantern artists will be helping to create the procession’s showpiece lanterns, which will reflect the two rivers theme. The procession gathers by St James Chapel at dusk and winds its way to Simmons Park, where the lanterns are displayed in a tableau.

A special part of the 2024 event will be performances by Okehampton Community Dance Project and the Okehampton Street Band.

The band, led by Wren Music’s community musician, Jon Dyer, will be playing traditional folk music, but adapted for a street band, as well as street band traditions from around the world. The band has been created especially for the procession – and there’s still time to join: “We’re looking for some more musicians, especially brass players who fancy doing something a bit different,” said Marilyn.

Meanwhile, Okehampton Community Dance Project are currently working with Wren Music’s dance practitioner Jenny Read to learn Dartmoor Step Dancing, which will be incorporated into their display. The young dancers – from toddlers to teenagers – are getting Dartmoor Step Dancing lessons for the procession thanks to funding from Instep Research Team, an organisation that researches and encourages traditional step dance and clog dance.

Marilyn said: “The evening promises to be a wonderful community event, and we want as many local people as possible to be part of it. So, come along to the coffee morning, have a cuppa and a chat, and see if you’d like to get involved.”  You can watch a short video about the 2022 Okehampton Lanterns on our YouTube channel. You can also contact us at [email protected] or on 01837 53754.