News & Events

Lantern-making: what’s involved?

Interested in making lanterns this half-term then joining our lantern parades in Retford or Gainsborough this coming November? Find out more here about what’s involved with our frequently asked questions

1. What age groups are the workshops aimed at?

The workshops are open to all ages – and are an ideal activity for the half-term holidays. Children must be accompanied by an appropriate adult

2. Do I need to bring overalls or wear old clothing?

The lanterns are made from willow and wet strength tissue paper – which is glued over the willow frame. It can get messy – it’s best to wear old clothing and/or bring an apron. We’re using washable PVA.

3. Do I make my lantern and take it away?

Yes, you can take your lantern home – and then come to the parade in November (21st in Retford and 22nd in Gainsborough), to join other local residents and school children as we walk through the town.

4. Can groups come along and make one lantern between them?

Yes, the workshops are flexible and aim to suit the people who attend.

5. How long should people allow to make their own lantern?

This might depend on how ambitious you want to be! The willow frame needs to be constructed first, followed by gluing the paper covering. The workshop’s lead artist can advise how long this will take – and will be there to help with the process.

6. Are refreshments available, or should people bring their own?

No, although our workshops are happening in venues where refreshments may be available to purchase or are near to food outlets in town centres. At the Aurora Centre in Worksop (workshop on Tuesday 24 October), there’s a cafe with a range of drinks and food available.

7. Will battery operated lights be provided to illuminate the lanterns, or do I need to purchase my own from elsewhere?

All lights are provided for free with the lantern-making materials – you do not need to provide your own. We would encourage you to return for the parade in November.

8. What are the benefits to the participants of engaging in the workshops and the lantern parade?

The lantern parade is part of Illuminate – an event to commemorate the heritage of Pilgrims, some of whom sailed on the Mayflower nearly 400 years ago. By joining in the workshops, you’re taking part in a growing number of events building up to commemorations in 2020 on the 400th anniversary as part of a national campaign called Mayflower 400. We want to let more people know about these events, find out about our region’s heritage – of the Pilgrims’ Roots – and have opportunities to take part in new, inspiring and exciting cultural activities.

9. Where it says ‘Register’ for the parade, what does that mean?

Bring your lantern and let us know that you’ve arrived – register in Carolgate for the Retford parade and on Silver Street for the Gainsborough parade – and we’ll give you a position in the parade line-up alongside other participants. We’d like to know how many people are taking part, so that’s why there’s a register.

10. What happens when the parade reaches the Market Square in Retford, or Gainsborough Old Hall for the Gainsborough parade?

There will be some entertainment before the parade ends at 5.45pm.

11. Do I need to wait around once we reach our parade destination?

There will be some music and storytelling at the parade end – so we’re hoping that you’ll enjoy watching this. You’ll also have the chance to see everyone else’s lanterns once everyone meets at the end.

12. Will there be any large lanterns?

Yes, we’ve commissioned some professional artists to make some ‘big-build’ lanterns – which will be iconic of the Pilgrims’ story. These will be joining the main parade along the same route as the smaller lanterns.

13. Can anyone with a lantern join the parade whether it was made in the workshops or not?

No, you need to attend a workshop to make a lantern or be attending with one of the participating schools. Free workshops are happening here:

For Gainsborough’s parade:

  • Trinity Arts Centre, Trinity Street, Gainsborough – Monday 23 October (10am-4pm)
  • X-Church, Ashcroft Road, Gainsborough – Thursday 26 October (10am-4pm)
  • United Reformed Church, Church Street, Gainsborough – Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 November (10am-4pm)

For Retford’s parade:

  • Aurora Wellbeing Centre, Memorial Avenue, Worksop – Tuesday 24 October (10am-4pm)
  • Bassetlaw Museum, Grove Street, Retford – Friday 27 October (10am-4pm)
  • Grove Street Methodist Church – Saturday 11 November (10am-4pm) and Sunday 12 November (12pm-5pm)

Lantern making

Illuminate 2017

What’s on? Coming up, ‘Illuminate‘ across the Pilgrim Roots region:

Transported/Electric Egg


Join residents in Austerfield and Bawtry in South Yorkshire as they commemorate their historic links to the Pilgrims’ story – starting in William Bradford’s home village – and finishing with a lantern parade in nearby Bawtry on Sunday 19 November 2017.

Find out more at Eventbrite.


Join us for our first Illuminate Lantern Parade commemorating Bassetlaw’s role in the Pilgrims’ story, by making lanterns with professional artists then joining Retford’s Illuminate Parade on Tuesday 21 November 2017 – an Arts Council England funded project led by Bassetlaw District Council.

Free Lantern Workshops at:

Aurora Wellbeing Centre, Worksop (S80 2BP) Tuesday 24 October 10am-4pm – with Jess Kemp

Bassetlaw Museum, Retford (DN22 6LD) Friday 27 October 10am-4pm – with Jess Kemp

Grove Street Methodist Church, Retford (DN22 6LB) Saturday 11 November 10am-4pm & Sunday 12 November 12pm-5pm – with Jess Kemp & Vincent Canning

Register on Tuesday 21 November from 4.30pm on Carolgate (near Wilko’s) for a parade start of 5pm to the Market Square

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Join us for our first Illuminate Lantern Parade commemorating West Lindsey’s role in the Pilgrims’ story, by making lanterns with professional artists then joining Gainsborough’s Illuminate Parade on Wednesday 22 November 2017 – an Arts Council England funded project with West Lindsey District Council.

Flame lantern Credit: Zoomorphia

Free Lantern Workshops at:

Trinity Arts Centre, Gainsborough (DN21 2AL) Monday 23 October 10am-4pm – with Julie Willoughby of zoomorphia

X-Church, Gainsborough (DN21 1BY) Thursday 26 October 10am-4pm – with Kirsty Champ

United Reformed Church, Gainsborough (DN21 2JR) Saturday 18 November 10am-4pm & Sunday 19 November 10am-4pm – with Julie Willoughby & Vincent Canning

Register on Wednesday 22 November from 4.30pm on Silver Street (near Argos) for a parade start of 5pm to Gainsborough Old Hall.

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Illuminate in Boston is a annual festival which has taken place on the last Thursday in November since 2015. Each Illuminate festival has built on the last, exploring Boston’s connection to the Pilgrims’ story and what brought the Pilgrims to Scotia Creek one dark night in the autumn of 1607. Illuminate features a procession with spectacular lit-lanterns created in workshops with local schools and community groups in the run up to each year’s event. Previous Illuminates have had a replica of the Mayflower ship, Pilgrims, birds and stars lanterns. The festival also features light projections and music.

Illuminate will lead up to a huge international celebration in 2020 to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower, and the arrival of the Pilgrims in America. For more information about Boston’s connection to the Mayflower story, visit

Illuminate is a partnership with Transported (an Arts Council England project) and Boston Borough Council.

Illuminate: Mayflower Performance & Craft Workshop

See Rhubarb Theatre perform Mayflower in Boston Market Place on Thursday 26 October, 10am-3pm, a 15 minute performance based on the Pilgrims’ story – getting us ready and in the mood for Illuminate on Thursday 23 November! Performances throughout the day in Boston Market Place.

Join in with Illuminate themed crafts with artist Nadya Monfrinoli. Find out more here.

Illuminate: Lantern Making Workshops

Working with artists Ruth Piggott (from Curiosity Creators), Jess Thompson, Nadya Monfrinoli and Kathleen Smith.

Book your place to make a stunning lantern, and come and join us for our third annual Illuminate festival! At:

Geoff Moulder Activity Room, Rowley Rd, Boston PE21 6JE
Sunday 15 October 10am to 3pm, Saturday 21 October 10am to 3pm & Sunday 22 October 10am to 3pm

Boston Guildhall, South Street, Boston PE21 6HT
Saturday 28 October 11am to 3pm & Saturday 18 November 11am to 3pm

Spaces are limited, so book your place by emailing Lauren on or calling 01406 701006. Suitable for those aged 7 and up, but all under 16s must be accompanied by an adult please. Find out more here.

Please note: you must be available between 5.30pm and 6.30pm on 23/11/2017

Illuminate 2017 Boston

Thursday 23 November, 5.30pm-8pm: The third fantastic Illuminate Festival will build on the serene light parades and stunning projects of Illuminate 2015 and 2016 to tell the story of the Boston Pilgrims and the town’s connection to the Mayflower, building up to international celebrations of the 400th anniversary in 2020. Find out more here.


Details coming soon