Night light – Scenes from the Decatur Lantern Parade

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 16, 2014

Reader Lori Leary sent in these photos from the Decatur Lantern Parade. The parade was held Friday, May 16, in Decatur, Ga. to “Celebrate the close of another school year and the coming of summer by lighting up the night.”

Check it out:

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  • Chris Billingsley

    I guess this is nice but I don’t know. I remember a time when parents helped sons and daughters build pinewood and soapbox derby cars, tree houses, bird houses and help with all kinds of traditional school projects but this was more about individual achievement and growth. This just seems wierd to me. Maybe someone can explain how all the time devoted to this activity improved public educational outcomes. But if this is somehow connected to International Bacaloriate then it all makes perfect sense.

    • Catie

      I’m not sure I understand the reason for your concern? What’s wrong with children making art and celebrating that art within the community? What does this have to do with derby cars?

      • blackbird13

        To paraphrase a corny old song: You’re looking for logic in all the wrong places…

    • Larry

      It was a parade.Were you there?did you see EVERYONE smiling?People lined up to watch us walk past.What is the difference between building a derby car and building a lantern?It’s all about community and FUN.I don’t understand your negative comment

    • Cool Lanterns

      Agree with Larry and Catie that lanterns are the 21st Century equivalent of woodcraft projects in the 20th Century. The 19th Century was corn cob dolls and log rafts, I guess. It’s all good. Busy hands and minds and lots of community and family fun.

      Plus those lanterns are darn cool looking. I would have gone if I’d realized. This is a full notch higher than the reading parades I remember from the past.

      But agree that IB is the buzzword of the day. Somehow incomprehensible grading makes us more internationally focussed? I’d rather we have an organized curriculum than none at all, but not sure that the prestige and hard-to-spell title of IB is any more special than anything else I’ve seen come through. I had high hopes for Expeditionary Learning but it seems to be watered down and prefab, maybe due to NCLB and testing pressures. (P.S. it’s “Baccalureate”)

    • darngooddesign

      I can’t figure out why you’re bothered by this event. Is it because it’s lanterns? Or is it because its not something you did as a child? How exactly, did the tree house you mentioned improve public educational outcomes?

  • Chris Billingsley

    Thanks for the spelling lesson CL. I never could figure out all the spelling changes in IB. And to Larry and Caitlyn, thanks for the response.
    My point was that this seemed a little weird to me. There was a time when an end of the year school celebration meant that the teacher/teachers would have a party, parents would bring goodies to share and the kids would have fun- eat and go outside to play, you know, the old “School’s Out For Summer… No more tests, pencils, or dirty looks” party. From what I saw, this looked like a candlelight procession, like the elves marching to the ships in “Return of the King”. It looked more ceremonial to me, maybe a little religious too. I also question the reason for this event being held at the square, an area dominated by the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, and not held at the schools. I saw a number of police officers directing traffic and monitoring the route. Was this a good use of police resources (maybe it was considering all the drunks on the road). And why do you care if one person expresses a view that is contrary to the civic cheerleaders in this town who celebrate every government organized activity?
    But I’m glad that you and others had a good time and hope your kids also enjoyed it.

    • Steve

      Was it billed as an end-of school celebration?
      Should we not have any activities on the Square because some establishments have alcohol licenses?
      The police resources were off duty officers and volunteers that I imagine the organizers paid for but I guess you would rather have had the parade take place without them.
      How do you know there were drunks on the road?
      You can express your own opinions, but don’t take issue with those who may not agree with your 20th century ideas.
      And, it was a really fun time; I expect is will grow in the future.

    • Catie

      It’s “Catie,” not “Caitlyn” … 😉

      Decatur is really lucky to have such a central, well-planned, pedestrian-focused, event-friendly city square — why would folks NOT take advantage of this space? As far as the sale & consumption of alcohol, Decatur is so ridiculously family-friendly/liberal bougerois/idyllic that I don’t see how anyone could be concerned about this. This wasn’t Little 5 Points or East Atlanta, and it definitely wasn’t mardi gras. It was a fun night for families and kids to gather with the community and show off their handmade lanterns and dance to a marching band. I’m honestly surprised that anyone could take offense to such a non-controversial event.

      • I’m not.

        • Cool Lanterns

          🙂 From where you sit, receiving both post-able and not-postable comments, I’ll bet little surprises you!

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