Parading About

~My theme for this month’s Nano Poblano challenge is Motion~

Atlanta BeltLineLantern Parade September 12, 2015 photos by Christopher T Martin

Photo by Christopher T. Martin source

Back in September, I participated in my second Beltline Lantern Parade, which just celebrated its seventh year in Atlanta. The Beltline Lantern Parade is part of the Art on the Beltline program and the brainchild Chantelle Rytter and the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons, who host the cavalcade of lights, music and dance transiting the Eastside Trail the first Saturday after Labor Day each year.

Last year, my bestie and I concocted our own Krewe of paraders (based on the idea of a Mardi Gras Krewe) called the Krewe of the Sultry Sirens.

This year, we took it up a notch.


This year, we got a banner.

Unlike most of the other 60,000-odd revelers, content to simply flourish their home-made lantern creations, the “Sirens” add an “Under-the-Sea Theme” costume component, dressing up as “mermaids,” “fish” and a “crustacean,” and bearing jellyfish lanterns.


me and my bestie, L


The Krewe of the Sultry Sirens

We also tossed beads and candy this year, very a la Mardi Gras, as we made our way down the trail.


That’s the back of our sign, btw.  It’s the actually the Krewe of the Sultry Sirens and One Cranky Crab


the Cranky Crab

Because we are completely over the top (and quite happy to be so), next year, we’re setting up a Facebook page for the Krewe and taking pledges for the Surfrider Foundation, a group dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches.

That way at least our desperate need to attract attention to ourselves will contribute to a good cause.

Which is certainly worth parading about.



Lit Up

This year I was finally able to participate in the Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade.  I’ve been dying be in it for the last couple of years, but we were always out of town.


“Cool,” you say. “So what is the Atlanta Beltline?”


Graffiti art on one of the tunnels

To ‘splain a little more, about five years ago, the City of Atlanta took over a series of paths and old railway lines more-or-less encircling the city, and turned it into a paved walking/biking/skating trail and greenspace called the Atlanta Beltline.


Walking home from Inman Park down the Beltline.

It’s very practical as it provides a safe path to walk from my loft over to the little neighborhood of bars and restaurants in Inman Park.


It’s very fabulous in that it’s studded with outdoor art installations, musicians throwing down impromptu concerts, fortune tellers, trail-side community yoga classes, and a fun, vital horde of 20 through 50-somethings running, walking, skating and biking in a giant festive Mardis Gras of humanity nearly every evening (complete with a lovely assortment of dogs, btw: from tiny puppies in purses to giant Irish Wolfhounds towing kids on skateboards.)


Mini concert from two very gifted musicians hanging out on the Beltline

“Er, well, that’s nice, but what about this Lantern Parade?” you continue.

The Lantern Parade is hosted the first Saturday after Labor Day each year by the Krewe of Grateful Gluttons, and kicks off a two month Art on the Beltline program that runs through November.


Almost 30,000 people showed up for this year’s parade.  Lanterns of every style and color danced from wires and poles clutched by costumed revelers; who walked, jogged, skipped and danced to the accompanying “alternative” marching bands.


I went with a bunch of friends as the (unofficial) Krewe of the Sultry Sirens.


We chose an “under the sea” theme, complete with mermaids, a giant crab, a ambiguous character based on Pirates of the Caribbean, some jellyfish lanterns and lots of glowing neon and sparkles.


It was about a 2-mile route, following the Beltline from Krog Street Market off of Irwin Street all the way over to Piedmont Park in Midtown.


“And did you have fun,” you ask, smiling as if you already know the answer.

I had a stinkin’ blast.


Come on, Costumes!  Costumes covered in twinkly lights! Day-glow Lanterns! Friends!  Sparkly stuff!  Music!  Dancing!  Drinks after at the Highlander!

Hog Heaven.

We were well and truly lit.

Faith means living with uncertainty – feeling your way through life, letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark.
– Dan Millman