September 15, 2018

Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade returns to light up September

More than 70,000 people participate in the annual event along the Eastside Trail

Thousands of glowing creatures will turn the Atlanta Beltline into a sea of color this month. There is no reason to fear, however. They will be part of the 10th annual Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade on September 21.

What began in 2010 with 1,200 people has grown into a parade with more than 70,000 participants carrying illuminated paper creations in the shapes of hats, parasols, animals and globes — and just about any other design you can think of.

» PHOTOS: Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade 2018

Chantelle Rytter will lead the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade, which she created in 2010.
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

» Chantelle Rytter: Pied Piper of the Beltline

The parade was created by Chantelle Rytter and the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons. 

“Her arrival from the Crescent City 12 years ago coincided with the explosion of Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods,” The AJC wrote in 2013. “Young transplants and suburbanites were scooping up new apartments and condos and renovating old homes, and they were eager to find fun ways to connect with one another and their new urban community. They adopted the Beltline as their Main Street and turned the city’s new green spaces into their playrooms. And in Chantelle, they may have found their muse.”

One way they’ve connected is the lantern parade.

The event is more than just paper lanterns. Bands will participate as well, making the event a mobile, illuminated concert. Along the route, thousands of spectators will dance and take photos.

The parade will begin on the Eastside Trail where it crosses Irwin Street / Lake Avenue and winds north to Piedmont Park. All are welcome (no registration required), and there’s no fee to participate. There are some rules you need to follow, however.

  • You need a lantern to walk in the parade.
  • No passing
  • No stopping. If you need to stop, please step off to the side. 
  • Walk with the flow of the parade
  • Yield generous space to bands and large lanterns 
  • Leave your pets at home
  • Walk your bike
  • No flying lanterns
  • Take your trash with you

Lineup for the parade begins at 7 p.m., with step-off at 8. 

The Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade. 
Photo: Steve Eberhardt

Those lanterns are the only thing you need to participate in the parade. But what if you don’t have one? Well, you can make one.

Several workshops still have spaces open for those who want to learn how to make their own paper lantern. Most classes cost $30-40, but all supplies are provided. For a full list, click here.

The Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons still needs parade marshals to help direct the flow of participants, assist people across streets and make sure a safe space is maintained around bands and the larger lanterns. 

According to the event’s website, “You must be kind and alert and be willing to say things like, ‘No, honey, you can't walk through the band.’ It'll be fun!” You also get a free T-shirt. There are four groups of marshals, named after the bands — Seed & Feed Marching Aboms, Sabor Brass, Black Sheep Ensemble and ATL Freedom Band. Only ATL Freedom Band is full. Get more information and sign up here.

MORE THINGS TO DO IN ATLANTA

» Atlanta’s third black-owned food truck park is this weekend

» Discover the world of ‘Stranger Things’ during Atlanta tour

» Kick off fall at annual ‘Wine Stroll,’ featuring local food and drink 

» Spend a Sunday in the cemetery at Oakland’s annual festival 

Find more things to do around Atlanta on ajc.com.

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