A HUGELY popular lantern festival has announced it is going virtual for this year’s celebrations.

Ulverston Lantern Festival normally attracts thousands of people to see the procession through the town and firework finale in Ford Park each September.

It was hoped it would still be able to go ahead in some form - but organisers have now decided to make it a virtual event due to safety concerns over Covid-19.

Lantern-makers are being urged to create their lanterns at home and display them outside their houses over the September 19 weekend, when the event was due to take place.

This year’s lantern festival theme is ‘Birds & Bugs’ so the organisers are hoping to see a huge variety of creations with everything from caterpillars, butterflies, dragon flies and ladybirds to sparrows, robins and golden eagles.

Chris Nelson, lantern festival chair, said: “The Covid-19 outbreak means that the usual events surrounding the Lantern Festival cannot take place, because we cannot guarantee the safety of the hundreds of people who take part, or the thousands who come from far and wide to see the spectacle. However, we want to keep alive the creative flame that makes the festival so unique and enjoyable.

“Ulverston Lantern Festival is the biggest event of its kind in Europe. We want to keep the spirit of the Festival alive so that it will be back stronger than ever in 2021 when we hope that the worst of the virus will be behind us.”

Lantern-making kits are now on sale from Appleseeds and the Market Hall from today.

The ‘lanterneers’ are also asked to send photos and videos of their lantern-making and finished creations to chris@trafalgar-pr.co.uk or post them on the Facebook page.