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Solstice Lantern Walk is an annual, winter-themed event, celebrating creativity and community. For Hillsborough, NC, it's become a tradition to gather and usher in the colder, darker months together. 


Participants are asked to craft a handmade lantern before the event and join at Hillsborough's Farmers Market Pavilion (144 E Margaret Ln) on the darkest night of the year. Click here for Solstice Lantern Resources.


After sundown, we follow a procession along Hillsborough's Riverwalk with lanterns lighting our collective path towards warmer, brighter days ahead.

We're thrilled to announce that, with generous support from Hillsborough's Tourism Board, Solstice Lantern Walk now features a Solstice Market, showcasing a select number of local artists, live music, hot drinks, warm food, and more to be enjoyed before and after the walk. Learn more about the music, artists, and vendors featured in the 2022 Solstice Market, and stay tuned for our 2023 Solstice Market Artist Application!

Once the walk and market come to a close, we encourage visitors to tour the gingerbread houses on display in many local shop windows through Jan. 1 and support local businesses through the winter season. Click for 2022 gingerbread details. 

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Hillsborough’s Lantern Walk joins countless other solstice observations around the world and throughout history. Thousands flock to Stonehenge to watch the sun rise with exquisite precision through the towering megaliths. Iranians observe Yalda, an ancient Persian festival marking the power of light over darkness, by staying awake past midnight, reading poetry, and eating dried nuts and fruits. Some Native American tribes perform rituals to honor the sun and invoke agricultural prosperity for the coming spring. Solstice rituals underscore that all things are passing — no matter how dark things may get, brighter days are ahead.

Bridget Booher
Our State Magazine, 2020

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Click below to read about the inspiration behind this beloved community event from former HAC Board Member and an innovator behind Hillsborough's Handmade Parade & Solstice Lantern Walk, Tinka Jordy.

Photos & Videos

Click to enlarge.

2022 event photography courtesy of Drone Data and Film. Thank you, Jim!