After a nerve racking year the Truro light festival went ahead and was superb. The theme “tell me a story” was encapsulated perfectly by the resident artists and attending school children alike, combinations of gigantic willow weaved marvels and gentle mood setting smaller pieces coming together for a procession of lanterns that is truly a sign of Cornwall residents creative flair.
Layered in between the lanterns were light lashed dancers, marching bands and even a lady twirling curved light batons as though she was a 21st century Samurai.
Huddled in bustling groups the spectators mingled an hour or so before the parade, the rows only got deeper and deeper as we waited. Old and young stood in the bracing coastal wind drinking hot chocolates, chatting idly and cuddling fur lined coat collars.
Funding difficulties had left the future of the twenty year event hanging in the balance. Costs of £42,000 for crowd controls and other costs had left the event looking like it wasn’t going to ‘be’ back in August this year, but with the injection of funding from local businesses and other notable outlets like the Truro City Council and the Business Improvement District it did, to the relief of many. An option had been floated earlier in the year to hold the event as a static festival in the local Victoria Park, although a pleasant location the theatrical brilliance of a parade is what makes this community event really special.
The support offered by the public for the parade was humbling and very much appreciated. I watched as a homeless, bongo playing gentlemen who had earned a few silver ‘nuggets’ stopped one of the bucket rattlers to offer his share towards the evening. Many revellers happily stopped to chat with the ‘Bongo’ man, stroke his dog and wish him well, his thanks was also touching.
Gazing around the scene in front of me the troubles of daily life melted away for this night and its message of beauty in tradition and the importance of creativity in adversity. Three generations of our family watched and were left with an indelible impression of the magic light and community can create, leaving us with our own story to tell many times over.
The City Of Lights Festival organisers are hopeful that the charitable donations from this years event will go someway to enabling its return next year. Much the same as this year it’s future is still uncertain, although hope remains that this fairly infant tradition will be around for generations to come, inspiring the children of tomorrow to realise the great big dreams they harbour inside their wonderful minds.