The Atlanta BeltLine brought a reimagined version of its beloved Lantern Parade in 2020, hosting the BeltLine Lantern Parade-in-Place from September 21-26. For the first time ever, the illuminated procession expanded from a one-night extravaganza on the Eastside Trail to a week-long celebration that included surprise visits in BeltLine neighborhoods. Atlanta residents were invited to showcase their creativity and shine their light throughout the week, hanging lanterns from the windows, porches, or yards of their homes for their neighbors to enjoy. They also lit up social media, sharing their lanterns via #BeltLineParadeinPlace, and posts were then mapped around the city. The Parade-in-Place culminated on September 25 and 26 with surprise parade pop-ups in BeltLine neighborhoods.
On Friday, September 25, the BeltLine Lantern Parade-in-Place, led by Chantelle Rytter and the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons strutted giant lantern puppets to the beats of The Black Sheep Ensemble through Ormewood Park and Grant Park. Families came out on their porch or down to the curb to get a closer view, while a few cars, loaded with children in their pajamas, strategically positioned themselves for a safe, full parade experience.
The fun continued on Saturday, September 26 in Adair Park with the Wasted Potential Brass Band leading the way. Animated by the music, the dark, quiet streets slowly came to life in the early night as people wandered out of their homes to see what was going on, livestream on their phones, or dance to the music.
The parade-in-place marched around the neighborhood and across the large field of the Adair Park, creating an ethereal effect as the giant puppets danced around the large expanse. Young and old carefully positioned themselves at a safe distance to sing along and delight in the spectacle before the parade carried on to a happy conclusion.
“I wish we could’ve taken our little giant lantern puppet parade to every home that hung up lanterns,” shared Lantern Parade creator and host Chantelle Rytter. “I loved the surprise and the intimacy of our neighborhood visits. It was so fun to see curtains part, hear a squeal of joy, and see families run out the door in their pajamas and dance barefoot in the yard! And then they’d look around, see their neighbors doing the same, and crack up laughing. We absolutely delighted one another. We needed that. I am so grateful to have this touchstone of collective joy in this difficult year.”
“Thank you so much! I really needed this!” was the reoccurring response from residents.
This year was certainly unconventional, but just as magical. Thank you to everyone who made the Lantern Parade-in-Place possible: Chantelle Rytter and the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons, the Kebbi Williams and the Wolfpack, Black Sheep Ensemble, and Wasted Potential Brass Band, and every home and business that made a lantern and joined in the fun of shining your light.
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A special thanks also goes to the platinum sponsors of the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade: Cox Enterprises and Ponce City Market.
The 2020-2021 Art on the Atlanta BeltLine exhibition is presented by Georgia Natural Gas, Northside Hospital, and Ponce City Market. Additional sponsors include Kroger at the Silver level; WarnerMedia at the Bronze level; and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Flashpoint Artists Initiative at the Patron level.
Major support for this project is provided by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Major funding for this organization is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov. This program is supported in part by Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency – the National Endowment for the Arts.