Come Saturday evening, Atlanta’s most enchanting tradition will officially be back from its pandemic-induced, two-year hiatus.
The Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade is kicking things off earlier than usual in 2022 and in a new location: the historic neighborhoods of Southwest Atlanta.
As organized by “parade artist” Chantelle Rytter and the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons, the Lantern Parade will travel a one-mile route along the BeltLine’s Westside Trail, beginning in Adair Park on Saturday night. It’s free, and all are invited to parade along the route or watch.
Now in its 12th year, the magical procession is an Art on the Atlanta BeltLine cultural program that started with humble beginnings, tallying about 400 participants in 2010.
By 2019, the final event before the pandemic, the Lantern Parade had swelled to an Eastside Trail extravaganza with an estimated 70,000 people in attendance.
Saturday’s forecast looks a bit hot, but clear—with a 100 percent chance of giant glowing puppets and whacky marching bands. Here’s what to know, before you go:
WHEN: The Lantern Parade steps off at 8:45 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE EXACTLY: The parade line-up begins at 8 p.m. at Adair Park I (742 Catherine Street SW) in the neighborhood of the same name. (There’s also an Adair Park II; don’t go there.) From the park it’ll travel a mile northwest, entering the BeltLine’s Westside Trail, and ending at the Lee + White food and beverage district.
WHO’S INVITED? Anyone, of any age, who’s made a lantern.
WHAT NOT TO BRING: Pets. Flying lanterns. Bicycles (on the parade route). Bad vibes.
MUSIC: Expect four marching bands to be grooving along the parade route, in addition to the Krewe. They’ll be, in order of appearance: Sabor! Brass Band, Black Sheep Ensemble, Seed & Feed Marching Abomninables, and Wasted Potential Brass Band. Classic.
PRE-GAME, YOU SAY? Yes, the official Lantern Parade pre-game festivities will be held at nearby Pittsburgh Yards between 2 and 7 p.m. Expect a lantern-making workshop, the development’s weekly market, and a kid lantern parade.
HOW TO GET THERE: Officials expect parking to be limited in adjacent neighborhoods—and they highly encourage alternate modes of transportation, like using the Westside Trail for what it’s intended for, biking, or calling a ride-share service. MARTA’s West End station is just up the road, and all train and bus schedules can be found here.
WHERE’S THE AFTER-PARTY? Organizers encourage parade-goers to gather at the Lee + White district afterwards and party with the bands, the Krewe, and no shortage of massive lantern puppets.
WHAT’S THE BROADER GOAL? “I believe we have a common calling to delight one another,” Rytter said in a statement. “To see the people we share a community with as playful volumes of light, and to be witnessed as such, does a body good. It is restorative. It is collective joy, and we need it.”
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