THE only limit will be the imagination as designs on a theme of Fantastical Beasts take shape ready for the next in a long line of Ulverston Lantern Festivals.

Four rivers of light will meet in the town centre on Saturday, September 14, during the latest in a series of spectacular community events which stretch back 36 years.

Ulverston-based arts company Welfare State International created the first event in 1983 – supported by 100 people who made their own candle-lit lanterns from willow and tissue paper.

Workshops to make lanterns for this year’s event are being held on Saturday and Sunday, from 2pm to 6pm, at the Parish Rooms, in Church Walk – and from Monday to Friday next week, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

More sessions are being held in the Coronation Hall on September 10 and 11, from 4pm to 6pm.

There have been plenty of interesting themes for the procession and in 2002 the choice was Myths and Legends – giving a wide scope for lantern and costume designers.

In 2003 the theme was A Walk Through Toy land with the parade including a clockwork mouse, a clown and a ballerina.

The Mail, on Monday, September 19, in 1994, noted:"Thousands of people flocked into Ulverston town centre for the lantern procession which brought the town's charter festival celebrations to a spectacular climax.

"Saturday's event proved to be a real family occasion with an estimated 3,000-strong crowd comprising young and old alike enjoying the fun on a still autumn evening lit by the glow of lanterns.

"There were lanterns of all shapes and sizes made at workshops held during the past two weeks.

"The lanterns were all devoted to the theme of How Does Your Garden Grow.

"Four separate parades from different parts of the area, including one from Swarthmoor, linked up in the town centre before making a giant river of light heading to Ford Park for the grand finale.

"The chairman of South Lakeland District Council, Cllr Elizabeth Braithwaite and Ulverston mayor, Cllr Jeanette Jenkinson, watched the parade from the balcony of the Coronation Hall before joining the Croftlands procession with two specially made lanterns for the last lap to Ford Park.

"Visitors to Ford Park were greeted by an archway of white lights and inside Welfare State International, the designers had set up an amphitheatre for spectators to enjoy the entertainment which culminated with a fabulous fireworks display."