As the sun sets over Henley-on-Thames on Saturday 16 September, the Illuminated Parade will be returning to light up the Thames.
Last year’s inaugural Illuminated Parade was such a huge success that this year it’s back with even more gusto! Last year 50 boats took part with imaginative lighting, and up to 2000 spectators gathered to watch the parade for free from both sides of the river and on the bridge. Many boat owners impressed by the event said they were going to “up their game” for this year.
A panel of judges will decide who they think deserves the beautiful trophies. There’s even a prize for the Best Lit Spectator! So start planning now.
Leander Club will be throwing open its doors again to the public for this one night of the year, so everyone can come in and see the prize-giving plus there will be bars and food trucks.
The Illuminated Parade will start promptly at 7.30pm at Fawley Meadows from where participating boats will follow the lead boat, themed ‘Under the Sea’ and adorned with an illuminated 3 metre octopus, mermaids and Aquaman. The parade will then make their way to Henley Bridge and back twice before mooring at Leander Club. Houses and trees along the way will also be illuminated.
The Illuminated Parade organisers had a friends and family fundraising event in July at which £8,000 was pledged. This will fund a PA system for both sides of the river and the bridge so the crowd can hear DJ Mike Read’s wonderful commentary and will also be used to hire spotlights and interesting lighting displays.
Boat owners are encouraged to be creative in their illuminations, decorations and music. Organiser Chris Taylor comments, “It is not about what you spend, it’s about the creativity of the idea.” Last year we had an Abba tribute boat, a Pirate ghost ship, a Ghostbusters boat and the winning boat depicting the Royal Crown seen on the Queen’s coffin. It was fabulous We would love to have a drone show at the event but we haven’t got finding for that yet, we’d love to hear from any potential sponsors.”
The Illuminated Parade is open to all boats of any size, powered or unpowered. All ages are welcome, and entrants can sign up on the website here https://www.illuminatedparade.com/
The event is free for spectators and charity donations will be collected – the chosen charities are The Rivertime Trust, The Leander Trust (both charities help to get disadvantaged and disabled adults and children out on the river) and The Macmillan Trust.
The parade is a family-friendly event with complimentary glow wristbands for children.