Christmas Lantern Festival lights up Beeston

The Beeston Christmas Lantern Festival brought the Christmas magic back to Cross Flatts Park on Friday (8 December 2023) and it was bigger and better than ever with people from across south Leeds joining in with the festivities.

Led by local churches, and featuring volunteers and partners from across the community, this annual festival – now in its 11th year – celebrates the Christmas story, and attracts over 500 people each year.

This year’s event featured a story trail, arts and crafts, a chance to help build and enjoy some giant dens, three donkeys, balloon-making, free food and drink, and a very welcome area that had some heaters! Three groups of participants arrived in the park as part of lantern parades which had started from St Luke’s Church, Rowland Road Working Men’s Club, and St Mary’s Church.

The parade from St Mary’s Church led by the Lord Mayor of Leeds

Music again played a central part of the evening. A busker kicked the entertainment off, followed by the Salvation Army brass band, then there was communal carol-singing, before a performance by a choir from St Luke’s Primary School. A series of community awards were given out by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Al Garthwaite. And for the first time, a series of short films were shown that told the Christmas story via scenes acted out in Beeston featuring a cast of local characters.

Mark Hodgkinson, one of the organisers, said:

“It is a joy to be involved in such a special event and great to see it grow and develop each year. Once again the park looked magical and it’s wonderful to share the celebration of Christmas with so many people from across the community shining light into the darkness.”
Photos: Cllr Ed Carlisle (Green, Hunslet & Riverside)


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