The Rock Island Public Library and Rock Island Parks Department are working together to shine a light on a once beloved tradition in Rock Island, the Lantern Parade.
The two City departments are bringing the Rock Island Lighted Lantern Festival back as part of the Library’s 150th anniversary, and the Rock Island Party in the Park. The vintage lantern parade will wrap up the free Party in the Park, which is Wednesday, September 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Lincoln Park, 38th Street & 11th Avenue, Rock Island.
Activities at the Party include free hotdogs, popcorn, and Kona Ice (while supplies last,) a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, music, and more fun and entertainment for people of all ages. Local businesses and organizations will be attending to engage with event guests, and add a community touch.
Guests can look forward to an exciting and well-rounded event, perfect for families and individuals looking to have a great time and learn more about their local community. Celebrate with other Rock Islanders in a festive atmosphere!
Once a staple of summer parks programs, the first lantern parade was held in 1924. For roughly 50 or 60 years, Rock Island children in summer playground commission programs would make cardboard silhouette lanterns for the nighttime parade. The creations varied in size from small handheld box lanterns to appliance-sized boxes carried on litters or wagons. Organizations also participated, and the events attracted large crowds to events at the Rock Island High School Stadium, and Longview Park.
You can create a lantern anytime for the event! The parade is open to all ages, individuals and organizations alike! To make your lantern, see the attached instructions. If you need a box, check at library service desks. All lanterns should be lighted with a battery-powered light source. Think LED "puck" lights, light bars, flashlights, etc.
To join the fun, bring your lantern and gather at 7 pm at the large shelter near the bandshell in Lincoln Park on September 13. The parade will start around sundown, and loop from the shelter to around the bandshell and back again. If you don’t get around to making one in advance, the Library will have small paper bag lantern kits available at the Party in the Park. Just stop by the library table in the Lincoln Park pavilion.
The Lantern Parade is just one of many events that are part of the Library's 150th anniversary year. We've heard from many Rock Islanders how much they loved making these lanterns every summer. Bringing it back is our way of celebrating a unique part of Rock Island history! Our thanks to the Parks Department for partnering with us.