Solstice Celebration Lantern Walk 

December 21, 2019

Lineup begins at 5:45 p.m.

Each December, the Winter Solstice marks the beginning of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere, and the longest night of the year. This astronomical event is significant to many cultures, religions, and traditions, for many different reasons. For the Hillsborough, NC community, it has become a beautiful evening to gather and recognize the peaceful quiet that the darker, colder months of the year can bring.


The Solstice Lantern Walk, which will take place at 5:45PM on December 21, 2019, is a non-denominational winter event that encourages creativity and community participation. Individuals are asked to bring a handmade lantern that lights up, to guide them along the walk. Participants will gather at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion be led on a procession along the path of the Riverwalk in Hillsborough, looping around and ending at the Weaver Street Parking deck.

This event is free (donations encouraged)

The Hillsborough Arts Council does require all participants to register in advance.


Can't attend this year but love the Solstice Lantern Walk?

Your gift helps us create this and many other wonderful events for the Hillsborough Community!

This program is supported by the Orange County Arts Commission and by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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WHY ARE QUIET AND WHITE EMPHASIZED? The Winter Solstice marks the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. The Solstice Lantern Walk is a non-denominational celebration of the days slowly getting longer. 


While it is close to the holidays, this is an intentional recognition of the quiet beauty of new winter light. We respectfully leave other winter holiday traditions such as carolling, etc. for incorporation into events other than the lantern walk. 


No experience or prior volunteering for HAC required. Volunteers will help at the various access points of the River Walk to ensure the crowd follows the path, and anyone entering the walk from that point waits until the end of the line to join. The best part about volunteering at this event is that you get the BEST viewing spot in the house! This is an outdoor event at night; volunteering does require a good amount of walking. Flashlights are encouraged and some will be available as needed. Reflective vests will be provided.

Volunteers are needed for both the event night and tentatively for the rain date. Shifts are from 4:00 PM until roughly 7:15 PM. If you are interested in volunteering for this event let us know here! 

Lantern Walk Route - Enter from the Eno River Farmers Market 
Parking Encouraged on the East side of town (to the right of Orange County Courthouse on map below) All entry to Riverwalk from Farmers Market Pavilion.
Overflow parking via parking deck.
Click map to enlarge.
PLEASE NOTE: NO ACCESS will be permitted along the River Walk at any other entry points. These are noted here on the map. Participants who wish to join at these points will be required to wait until the very end of the line to join in. 
If you'd like to watch the solstice walk, please see the viewpoint map for some of the best options for vantage points and viewing. 
No Entry map.jpg
view point map.jpg



Available at the Hillsborough Arts Council Gallery and Gift Shop at 102 N. Churton Street. 

A Video on How To Use Your  Lantern Kit:

Lantern Guidelines for 2019:

  • Lanterns should be handmade and follow the "winter white" theme.

  • Please use white lights also, absolutely no flames.

  • Bells and chimes may be added.

  • Be creative!

Reminder, we are using LEDs (absolutely no flames allowed).

Some of these videos show colored lanterns but please stay true to the Winter White color theme.

We know that this creative community will come together with fun creations! We can't wait to see yours!

Want to protect your handmade lanterns? Spraying clear aerosol lacquer helps protect them from the elements.


2017 - video by Michelle Whitfield and Jeff Shields, music and Picture Maker at Kleptonaut

2016 - video by Michelle Whitfield and Jeff Shields, music and Picture Maker at Kleptonaut

2015 - Inaugural parade passed StickWork by Patrick Dougherty, which was sponsored by the Hillsborough Arts Council and completed late November 2015.


Video by Gregg McPherson of Grey Egg Productions