Shropshire Star

Community feels the love for Oswestry with spectacular lantern parade and fully booked events

The love for Oswestry was evident when hundreds of people took part in a spectacular lantern parade at the weekend.

A fire breather intertains the crowd

The parade was the colourful culmination of Love Oswestry 2024, the town's winter arts and culture festival. Organisers say it was an enormous success, with free cultural events and performances events fully booked.

During Saturday evening's parade, hundreds of people walked to the sound of beating drums clutching their hand-made lanterns from Designs in Mind, through Cae Glas Park and up to the Bailey Head, where a fire breather waited to entertain them.

The parade makes its way through Oswestry. photo: Richard Stonehouse

Love Oswestry’s winter arts and culture festival is in its third year and provides the community the chance to watch or take part in a feast of free cultural activities and performances at various venues across town.

Llwyd Mansion opened its doors for an oral histories project The Story Shop, which invited people to share their memories and love of the town.

Hermon Arts hosted a performance of A Tender Thing, a moving twist on Romeo and Juliet by Stage Five Theatre. and there was a wide range of free music, art, and drama workshops on offer with professional tutors.

Some of those taking part in the parade. photo Richard Stonehouse

Storytelling sessions for both adults and children proved to be very popular and the guided tours of Oswestry where people learned of the town’s rich history were fully booked.

Local artist Joseph Schneider ran Paint the Town art workshops, where people could paint, draw or collage directly onto different size photographs of sites around Oswestry using a variety of mediums.

He said: “We created some tremendous images emerging out of walls, shop fronts, park sculptures and rusty old trains by participants of all ages. One of the images was painted by feet - it was a beautiful moment."

A stilt walker at the parade . Photo Richard Stonehouse

The mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Olly Rose said: “Despite the predicted rainfall, there was a great turnout for the lantern parade finale to Love Oswestry week. It was great to see the festival return with exciting new events and some of our favourites returning bigger and better than ever. I’ve been really pleased to see how Oswestry’s talented cultural people are working together to deliver activities which are both fun and informative about the history of our town.

"We look forward to more events during the summer months with Love Oswestry’s ‘Summer of Art’."

The idea for Love Oswestry and the coordination of the programme came from Oswestry’s Cultural Connections, a group of people involved in the town’s culture and heritage and forming a key part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone, part of a national programme funded by Historic England. Additional funding has been secured through the UK's Shared Prosperity Fund which means that the group’s work can continue into 2025 at least.