Stony Stratford Lantern Project 2018

This is an exciting community arts project which sees people of all ages joining together at York House Centre to make lanterns ready for the Lantern Procession which takes place every year as part of the Stony Stratford Switch-On Fun Day.

Anyone can make a lantern (although young children will need help).  Our lanterns are made from willow withies and masking tape which is then covered with colourful tissue paper and PVA glue and lit from within by a candle.

Every year we have a different theme for the project e.g ‘Christmas in Toyland’, ‘Christmas Under the Sea’.

The 2018 theme will be ‘Christmas at the Movies’

loads of scope for different characters, very get your thinking caps on for some fun and colourful creations!

On Switch-On Day we meet at York House to collect our lanterns.  As darkness falls the lanterns are lit and the procession makes its way through the crowd-lined streets of Stony Stratford to the Market Square in time for the switching-on of the Christmas lights…magical!

Lantern Making Sessions

are held over 2 weekends at York House Centre, London Road, Stony Stratford, MK11 1JQ:-

Sat 17 & Sun 18 November              10.00am til 4.00pm

Sat 24 & Sun 25 November              10.00am til 4.00pm

A cafe runs all day at the York House sessions for hot and cold drinks, snacks and light lunches.

Plenty of Lantern Volunteers will be on-hand to help you make your lantern.

The 2018 Switch-On Fun Day and Lantern Procession are on Saturday 01 December.

Booking Your Lantern

We strongly advise that you pre-book your lantern/s as the project sells out every year.

Bookings start on Monday 01 October 2018.  Download a form by clicking here: Lantern Prebooking Form 2018 – Cash or Cheque Payments (1)

to pay with cash or cheque from the York House Office or buy on-line at 

Cost is £6.00 per lantern (not per person) – cheques payable to ‘York House Centre’, on-line sales are subject to an additional 10% booking fee.  Price includes all materials, attendance at the Lantern Making Sessions and entrance into the Procession.

All lanterns are checked thoroughly by our Volunteers to ensure they are safe to join in with the Procession which is well supervised by experienced Stewards.

A BIG thank you

to all the Lantern Volunteers; to the Trustees & Staff at York House Centre and to our funders – Milton Keynes Community Foundation, Stony Stratford Town Council, Stony Stratford Business Association and the York House Local Giving Fund.

Join our Facebook Group – Stony Stratford Lantern Project


The Lantern-Makers turned out in full force on Saturday 02 December to take part in this year’s Lantern Parade, the culmination of the month-long Stony Stratford Lantern Project which was another massive success with 270 lanterns made.  Frame-making sessions were held at 5 local schools plus 2 full weekends of public workshops at York House Centre saw the building packed to the rafters with people of all ages.  Their happy chatter made for a great community atmosphere and The Coffee Bean provided a fabulous café to keep us all fed and watered with drinks, snacks and bacon sarnies.

lanterns 4 2017 lanterns 2 2017

This year’s theme was ‘Santa’s Workshop’ which inspired local families to create an AMAZING array of colourful lanterns.  There were presents galore, toy cars, boats and trains, yummy treats like candy canes, lollipops and gingerbread men (and a gingerbread house too), My Little Pony, Rubik’s Cubes, Minions and Pokemon, Jack-in-the-Boxes and rocking horses plus, of course, Father Christmas himself and a host of elves, reindeer and even a monkey and a polar bear to help him on his way!

Elves Indoors - 2017 Market Square & Elvis 0 2017

The Lantern Volunteers excelled themselves again this year by creating a special giant lantern for the back of the parade.  ‘Elvis the Elf’ wowed the crowds and was great fun to make.  Thank you to Festive Road in Kiln Farm for lending us some workshop space to make him as he was far too big to fit in to York House!

Elvis and Building in Daylight - 2017 lanterns 5 2017

The weather was a little damp but it didn’t deter the crowds who’d come along to watch.  The streets of Stony Stratford were packed with thousands of amazed onlookers all along the route to the Market Square.  The procession was led by Stony’s own Town Crier and the Bernese Carting Dogs and we had not 1, but 2 drumming groups this year –  Pete Lockwood & the Samba Band from Bushfield School and Nkiru Arts Drummers.  Everything went to plan and we arrived in the Market Square in time to enjoy the festivities before the switching-on of the beautiful Christmas lights.  A magical event for everyone involved, creating Christmassy memories to treasure!

lanterns 2 2017 Lanterns & Building Twilight - 2017

Many thanks, as always, to the unstoppable team of over 50 Lantern Volunteers who give hours of their time and a massive amount of energy to make this spectacular community arts project possible, to Bob Adams and his team of Stewards for keeping us all safe during the parade and to the CLASS Committee for organising the Switch-On Fun Day.

Grateful thanks to our funders – Milton Keynes Community Foundation, Stony Stratford Town Council and Stony Stratford Business Association – for their continued support, helping us to keep the project affordable for all.

bob-mcd-mayor-mayoress bob-mcd-pegasus


_mg_2718 bob-mcd-lantern-storage owl montage bird   and for more pictures and videos visit our Facebook page at and, for a link to Derek Gibbons’s video:

 Photos (mostly) by Bob McDonald – thanks, Bob.
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