14th Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade Ignites the Westside Trail

Parade-goers created lanterns of all shapes, sizes, and themes. (Photo credit: The Sintoses)

On May 11, 2024, the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade lit up the Westside Trail. Thousands of people gathered to watch and participate in the 14th year of the spectacular event, originally created and presented by Chantelle Rytter and the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons. 

People started the day at Pittsburgh Yards®, where the Pittsburgh Community Market and The Happy Black Parent hosted local vendors and a kids lantern-making workshop. Young attendees brought DIY paper lanterns to life with colorful drawings and glow sticks and then proudly showcased their creations in a kids parade, a miniature version of the main event. Families followed along as the little ones made a small loop around Pittsburgh Yards® while the Atlanta Ol Skool Drummers, an adult drumline based in Atlanta, provided a lively beat. 

People wandered the Pittsburgh Community Market before the kids parade. (Photo credit: Dr. Arshley Emile)

Hundreds of residents also came to the Westside BeltLine MarketPlace to enjoy grub from local businesses, dance to a DJ, and make their own last-minute lanterns. People of all ages put their creativity to the test using donated art supplies from Scraplanta. The station was so popular that attendees were making lanterns at spots around the MarketPlace.  

Parade viewers arrived as early as 4:00 p.m. to set up tables, coolers, blankets, and more at viewing stations along the Westside Trail between Allene Avenue and Lee + White. Others observed from overpasses, ramps, and truck beds. Homeowners near Adair Park, where the procession lined up, hosted tailgate parties for friends. 

As the sun set, the parade stepped off on Catherine Street, led by Chantelle Rytter and her giant illuminated phoenix. Participants carried their glowing creations between the five bands, which played triumphant music for both those parading and taking in the sights to dance along. Towards the end of the parade, a shining skunk lantern even lifted its tail to spray on squealing crowds. 

The 14th Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade lit up the night. (Photo credit: The Sintoses)

One attendee celebrated his 10th year commuting from Stone Mountain to watch the parade, calling it a “fun and creative celebration of inclusiveness and community.” After beginning a tradition of viewing the procession on the Eastside Trail together, an Atlanta family was delighted when it moved to their neighborhood. 

Crowds joined together for a vibrant afterparty at the end of the parade route featuring a “spontaneous” jam session with the bands, all of the puppets, and a crowd that had gathered to watch from the Lee+White Food Hall. 

To stay connected for future Atlanta BeltLine Lantern parade information, see art.beltline.org/lantern-parade/ or follow @chantellerytter. 

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