It’s coming up to the event that is arguably Argyll’s night of the year – the utterly magical Lochgilphead Lantern Parade on Saturday 3rd November.
Amongst last year’s record crowd was a visitor who said to the friends she had come with: ‘Imagine living here’. Many of us are lucky enough not to have to imagine – but it’s good for the spirits – and for Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance, funded to mount the event this year – to hear this response from visitors drawn to Argyll by the very special events it delivers.
We’ve already had the Best of the West Festival, alongside the Lantern Parade is the Campbeltown bonfire and fireworks extravaganza and afterwards comes the Oban Winter Festival with a secret finale costing more and promising better than we can guess at.
We know what the lantern parade delivers, yet every year it gets better, with the darkness, the parade through the town with the bands, the surprises the lanterns bring, the Snapberry project images projected on the gable walls in Colchester Square, the bonfire and the fireworks lighting the night sky and reflecting in the loch.
Alongside this are side entertainments and bot food stalls on the green at the head of the loch, where the parade swings to the right to lead the audience to the bonfire on The Corran.
This year there’s an extra feature to the evening. Those arriving early to get their favourite position and the revellers during the parade can keep warm with hot drinks and munch on home baking from the 19th Argyll Scout group.
They’ll be setting up stall in the grounds of the Baptist Church, diagonally opposite the Stag Hotel – with soup, snacks and home baking – and they’ll be ready for business from 5.30pm. This means that all those setting up for the parade as well as early birds to watch it, can be sure of this delicious support for the experience of the evening.
The Scouts are doing this to raise funds for their group. They’ll be working hard – maybe too hard even to see their own group’s lantern in the parade. We’ve been told to look our for a UFO – so now you know too.