New models for the procession at this year's Diwali celebrations are set to take centre stage in Northampton next month.
Organised by the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation and supported by Northampton Borough Council, this year’s celebrations will open at 10am on Saturday, November 3 in the Market Square with information and food stalls.
Family-friendly activities such as henna painting, Karom board game and sari dressing will follow, with performances, music and stage entertainment from 1pm.
The much anticipated annual Diwali lantern procession will begin at 6pm at Market Square and All Saints Church. Local school children will join a parade including diva lights, drummers and new light-structures of Hanumanji the monkey God and Ravana the demon king.
Favourite characters Harminder the elephant, Ram and Sita and Shanti the big bird will also be joining the fun as the procession heads up Abington Street, onto Fish Street, past the Guildhall and through to the Market Square.
A light will be offered to the leader of the Northampton Borough Council, councillor Jonathan Nunn, and the Mayor of Northampton, councillor Tony Ansell, at the steps of the Guildhall and another light at the All Saints Church, will be received by Father Oliver Coss.
Dignitaries will take to the stage at 7pm for speeches and countdown to switch on the Diwali Lights in the Market Square, before bhangra music and dancing close the event at 8pm.
Neelam Aggarwal-Singh of the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, said: “It’s fantastic to see Diwali lights celebrations get bigger and better and continue to grow from strength to strength each year. I would like everyone to come along and join us in celebrating this amazing festival of lights.
Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “The town’s Diwali lights celebrations are always a popular occasion, with families flocking into the town to enjoy the entertainment and see the lantern procession.
“Festive Road have done an amazing job creating two new characters to join this year’s parade. We hope these additions and a few fun surprises will help to make this year’s event even more entertaining. Come and join us as we celebrate this fantastic festival.”