A Week to Go!

The final touches are being made to this year’s spectacular Illuminate parade, which is due to take place on the evening of Thursday 23 November in Boston Market Place. Illuminate is part of the national initiative Mayflower 400, which commemorates the legacy of the Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower from Plymouth UK to Plymouth in the United States. 2020 will mark the 400th anniversary of that sailing, and Mayflower 400 has been created to internationally celebrate it.

Boston’s Illuminate is a partnership event between Transported, the Arts Council funded programme to increase participation in the arts in Boston and South Holland, and Boston Borough Council. This will be Boston’s third Illuminate festival, telling the story of the Boston Pilgrims and their part in the Mayflower story.

This year’s parade reflects on themes of hope and betrayal, and will comprise over two hundred participants from local schools and community groups, holding stunning lanterns that they have made under the guidance of artists Ruth Pigott from Curiosity Creators, Kathleen Smith, Nadya Monfrinoli and Jessica Thompson. Students from St Thomas’s, Wyberton Primary, Boston West, Wrangle Primary and Giles Academy have been really busy over the last few weeks creating colourful lanterns in the shapes of candles, bird cages, fish and suitcases – along with members of the community who have also created lanterns in open workshops at Fydell House, Boston Guildhall and Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre. We still need volunteers for the procession as we have lots of lovely lanterns which need an escort! If you would like to join in, please contact Anna Scott on 07436 162005 or email You just need to be available from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on the evening of Thursday 23 November. 

Led by stilt walkers and musicians, the lit lantern parade will make its way from Central Park at 5.50pm, proceeding down Strait Bargate and into the Market Place. Simultaneously, an actor on the stage will be narrating the story of the Boston Pilgrims – their attempt to escape from Boston, how they were betrayed, and then held in Boston Guildhall.  A choir of more than one hundred people will then sing the Mayflower anthem, which was written especially for Boston’s Illuminate by musician Jo Freya, whilst beautiful light projections illuminate Boston Stump.

We would love to see as many viewpoints of the parade as possible, so if you take any photos or videos on social media, please tag them with #Illuminate2017 and #transportedart so that we can see them! A specially created Snapchat filter will also be available to use from 4pm to 8pm on the evening, exclusive to the area surrounding the procession – just search for Illuminate 2017.

Transported has helped to create a new group called “Pilgrim Roots”, bringing together Boston’s closest neighbours connected with the early narrative of the Pilgrims story.  All of the Pilgrim Roots locations hope to work together in future years as a partnership to create a more ambitious programme of events across the East Midlands. Other Illuminate events will also take place in the nearby towns of Gainsborough, Retford and Austerfield. For more information on Pilgrim Roots, visit

As well as the Illuminate Parade, Thursday 23 November will see the Boston Christmas Market return. Festive treats and gifts can be purchased whilst watching the evening entertainment which will host Cinderella and Kenny J performances. The newly formed community group, Christmas In Boston, will turn on the Christmas lights they have worked hard to secure funding for from local businesses to light the town. A Festive Market has also being added to this year’s calendar on Sunday 17 December hosting a free screening of Elf in the Stump in the afternoon.

Illuminate is a partnership event organised by Transported, Boston Borough Council and Mayflower 400.  For more information, visit and

Thanks to Electric Egg & Curiosity Creators for the images.