Hillsborough residents in search of seasonal festivities have an opportunity to celebrate the winter solstice on Wednesday during the town’s second annual lantern walk.

According to Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens, the origins of the town’s latest local tradition lie with the Stickwork sculpture erected last year by Patrick Dougherty.

Solstice observers and yuletide merrymakers are encouraged by Stevens to participate in the event, which falls in step with the ancient act of beating back the darkness of winter.

Nearly 2,000 lanterns were carried over the banks of the Eno River by event-goers last year – a holiday spectacle that was described by Stevens as “magical.”

Participants are encouraged to use their imaginations when crafting their lanterns, but Stevens noted that LEDs must be used in place of flames to mitigate fire hazards.

The winter solstice is the day on which the Earth’s tilt and position relative to the Sun produces the longest night of the year.

A detailed description of the event has been made available by the Hillsborough Arts Council on their website at hillsboroughartscouncil.org.