Mill Road to sparkle throughout December

A Lantern Trail and Online Fair replace the traditional Mill Road Winter Fair

This year, a sparkling celebration of Mill Road will unfold throughout December. The Mill Road Lantern Trail is organised by the Mill Road Winter Fair Association and is the first project funded by Love Mill Road. We are thrilled that it captures everything that is so special about the Mill Road neighbourhood – its diversity, independence, community spirit and local pride. It is also fitting that our first funded project supports Mill Road’s flagship community street fair, marking the start of a close working relationship between Love Mill Road and the Mill Road Winter Fair.

The Mill Road Lantern Trail encourages everyone to explore Cambridge’s most diverse, vibrant and independent shopping street. Ten beautifully crafted community lanterns, inspired by ideas and images gathered from residents in the streets off Mill Road, will be displayed in the windows of ten shops and cafés along the road. The lanterns, created by local illustrator, designer and artist Penny Sobr, will be illuminated over 15 days from Saturday 5th December, the day when the Mill Road Winter Fair would have taken place. Further lanterns for other streets and shops are planned for next year, which will all be brought together within community lantern parades at future Winter Fairs.

Each lantern provides a unique snapshot of a road, through the eyes of its residents. The lantern designs are also influenced by the character of the shops that are hosting them and so provide a wonderful celebration of the inter-connections between local residents and shopkeepers in Mill Road. You can explore the set of lantern designs at https://www.millroadwinterfair.org/mill-road-lanterns/

Great Eastern Street is a great place for train spotting as it’s so close to the railway, but better known for its music, beer and convivial atmosphere. Its lantern has an intriguing backdrop of railway tracks, and also locks and keys because it is hosted at Halls of Cambridge, Romsey’s superb locksmith. There is also, of course, ‘The Beaky’, a reference to the Earl of Beaconsfield Pub, and pictures of some of the many dogs that live along the street.

St Barnabas Road is a street of long gardens, window boxes, fruit trees and flowers. It’s known for its annual Advent Windows and the lantern features images from the windows, and also some of the Street’s pet cats. The St Barnabas Lantern is hosted at the wonderful Cho Mee Chinese Supermarket at the end of the road and so the images on the lantern are interlaced with that of a huge Chinese dragon.

With Romsey Mill at one end and Romsey Rec at the other, Hemingford Road has a clear sense of history but also a vibrant present. Hemingford is the home of Romsey’s greatest street party and so its lantern is bedecked with bunting, snapshots from the parties and images of dancing, guitars, teapots and cupcakes. Look out for the picture of St Philip’s Church on Mill Road, which hosts the Hemingford Road lantern in its foyer.

A stunning illustrated map of the Lantern Trail by illustrator Anna Betts brings Mill Road to life, marking the location of each lantern and highlighting some of the fascinating and unknown history of buildings and places along the road. It can be seen at http://www.millroadwinterfair.org/mill-road-trail

Meanwhile Mill Road Fair Online offers a selection of familiar stalls and much-loved performers as well as an exhibition of local artists, plus videos and activities from many of our partner organisations, including University of Cambridge Museums, Mill Road TV, Cambridge Hands-On Science, The Junction, Mill Road History Society, and more. This ‘virtually brilliant’ fair means you can support local businesses and stallholders this Christmas by visiting http://www.millroadwinterfair.org

The Mill Road Winter Fair is completely run by volunteers and is always looking for new members to join the friendly, supportive group of people who make this amazing event happen each year. To be part of next year’s adventure, contact volunteers@millroadwinterfair.org

For more information, photos and the Lantern Trail, see: