Young participants in the inaugural Hilton Head Island Lantern Parade, held in November 2019, created lanterns with an ocean conservation theme. COURTESY OFFICE OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS

Over the past couple of years, our community has become accustomed to celebrating arts and culture on our island each October during the Crescendo festival. Crescendo has been produced annually since 2017 in partnership with National Arts & Humanities Month.

During October and early November, more than 100 unique arts and cultural events take place on our island. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cultural community must make some changes this year.

To keep our community safe and help flatten the curve, many of our arts and culture opportunities this fall are moving online. The Office of Cultural Affairs and Arts Council of Hilton Head will continue to promote lectures, classes, exhibits and concerts virtually as part of National Arts and Humanities Month, but our in-person celebration will be moving to May. So we have something to look forward to next spring!

Many events that people have grown to love that occur during Crescendo will be taking place in a different, socially distant manner.

The Hilton Head Island Lantern Parade is moving to a Parade-in-Place model. We will be inviting everyone with a lantern or who makes a new lantern (or three) to put them on display in their front yards or driveways for three nights, Nov. 5-7.

We will have a map for participants to register that you will have a lantern on display for people to drive by and see, if you like, and we will be parading the large-scale glowing puppets through neighborhoods with high participation.

Of course, we hope we will be back together on the beach, parading together, in fall of 2021, but this year we can light up our island for a couple nights from the safety of our own homes and yards.

In May, we will be back with a two-week long celebration of arts and culture on our island. The plan is to produce a light version of Crescendo May 8-23, 2021. This won’t be “light” in content or “wow” factor, just “light” in length – going from our traditional month-long celebration to a two-week window in the spring.

We already have outdoor concerts and art markets in the works and are hopeful we will all be back gathering in theatres and other indoor venues by then, too.

Make sure that you have signed up for the Culture HHI newsletter (on the website, that is sent out bi-monthly to stay up to date on all things Crescendo for both our virtual celebration this fall and (fingers crossed) our in-person festivities in the spring.

Jenn McEwen is the director of the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Office of Cultural Affairs.