There’s no hiding from the fact the festive season is almost upon us – with Christmas Day in just 28 days.
And now there’s a whole new way of conjuring up some festive spirit.
A lantern parade will be held in Leeds next week, weaving through the streets in the city centre.
The stunning parade is a festive first for the city, and will be led by a giant light-up reindeer and an impressive illuminated owl.
The event is set to be one of the showpiece events in the city’s Magical Leeds campaign and will be held on Saturday, December 12.
A Snow Queen, winter wonderland birds and a procession of hand-crafted candle lanterns will form part of the parade and will be accompanied by the sound of Yorkshire’s New York Brass Band, which will perform a selection of Christmas favourites.
Activities for youngsters include face painting and the chance to have their picture taken with real life reindeer at Kirkgate’s outdoor market until 4pm.
Starting at the George Street entrance of the market from around 5pm, the parade will head through the city to Victoria Gardens on The Headrow, where it will arrive at 6.15pm.
But the festive fun doesn’t end there.
An explosive visual act complete with acrobats, glowing LED hula hoops and juggling clubs will be performed.
The ‘Halo Glow Show’ by Flame Oz is family friendly and free to attend.
Guests at Victoria Gardens can also enjoy a hot chocolate or mulled wine and sample some of the festive food stalls on offer.
Ahead of the parade, lantern workshops will be held this weekend, where families can create their own special lantern to carry with them at next week’s event.
The workshops will be held at Leeds Town Hall Crypt from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm on Saturday, December 5, and again at the same times on Sunday, December 6.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds has really started to feel festive now that the countdown to Christmas has begun, and I’m sure this beautiful lantern parade will be a wonderful addition to the huge programme of events we have across the city.
“It’s always lovely to see people coming into the city centre, celebrating together with their families, and it really helps everyone to get into the spirit of the season.”
The new parade is part of Magical Leeds’ three-year strategy to raise the profile of the city, increase visitor numbers and encourage overnight stays during the festive period.
Anything that brings people together and spreads festive cheer is only a good thing, and judging by the success of Leeds Light Night every year, it’s clear there’s an appetite for this kind of event.
Let’s just hope the lantern walk becomes another annual fixture for Leeds.
For more information about the lantern walk event, go to http://bit.ly/whatsonleeds.