Illuminares Lantern Festival 2013

Comments 4 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The 25th anniversary of the Illuminares Lantern Festival is happening this Saturday at Trout Lake and it will also be the last. Since 1988, the non-profit Public Dreams Society has hosted the festival (along with other events like the Parade of Lost Souls) but according to artistic director Matthew Bissett, it’s just no longer feasible.

“The sad fact is that we are in financial difficulty,” Bissett told me over the phone. They’re not trying to end the event and he called this step more of a “hibernation”. However, they need to find a way to clear their deficit and find new ways of producing these events.

Lantern in Tree @ Illuminares Festival
Photo credit: Jason Gallant on Flickr

Illuminares is an iconic part of the cultural landscape in Vancouver, bringing together the Trout Lake community and all those who visit. Despite hitting a milestone this year, he expects a smaller “quietly beautiful” festival on Saturday. “It’s about the procession, the movement of all the people at the same time with light, that is kind of the glorious thing and the main point of the Illuminares Festival.”

Vancouver Lantern Festival Chess Pieces
Photo credit: bcbusinesshub & bcbusinesshub on Flickr

“Come enjoy the park as a park. Celebrate Trout Lake and John Hendry Park. Bring a picnic, bring an instrument, play a game, enjoy the grass, the tress, the sky, summer.”

Neighbours lead park clean-ups years ago, helping the area grow into the friendly community-oriented place it is now, and the event has always been about fostering that sense of community. “Part of our goal is to get back to the original idea behind Illuminares, when it was community members in the Trout Lake area that were coming to the park to do a lantern procession around Trout Lake as a way of claiming the green space as their own.”

Bissett emphasized that Illuminares has also always been about participation. “You build the lantern, you bring a light source, and the real beauty is everyone engaging in the collective experience.”

Photo credit: bcbusinesshub on Flickr

While the human energy of the first Illuminares rippled out through the Trout Lake area communities, the light energy sped upward towards the stars – passing Alpha Centauri after five years, zooming past Sirius, Procyon and Altair, until just this summer reaching the star Vega, twenty-five light years from Earth. This summer, visit the shores of Trout Lake and take a journey back through time with Public Dreams, navigating our history using these stars as your signposts!

For those wanting to get involved with Illuminares on Saturday, you can contact Public Dreams about becoming a volunteer. The event runs from 6:00pm to 10:30pm on Saturday, July 20, 2013 at Trout Lake and John Hendry Park. Follow Public Dreams on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about this event and more importantly to find out ways you can support their efforts.

4 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. claire-LySaturday, July 20th, 2013 — 8:03am PDT

    What a pity. We made lanterns in Germany where I was teaching and all schools joined the lantern festival, the floats and all. I was a little community Bad Homburg and even my mom a;ready made lanterns when she went to school there. Ever since we made lanterns at schools I taught in Australia and here. I enjoyed Trout Lake lantern festivals and went along when I could. I am sad to see it go. I am sure a lot of the German school classes will have people attending. Hope it is not the last, so let us save this wonderful event., Claire-Ly.

  2. MSaturday, July 20th, 2013 — 2:25pm PDT

    Claire-Ly: my children will be using their lanterns from the St Martin processions at German school 🙂

  3. Laur DSunday, July 21st, 2013 — 10:02am PDT

    Friends of mine live within walking distance of the park and invited my husband and I to come (from Maple Ridge) and participate in “their” lantern festival. We made a lantern and joined in the promenade with thousands of other lantern enthusiasts. We were impressed by the congenial atmosphere, the marvelous and imaginative examples of lanterns that children and adults proudly carried. Most of all, there was a overlaying sense of enjoyment at being able to be outside with thousands of people on a warm summer’s evening in a beautiful setting. Our tour around the park was peaceful and calm with little injections of Wow! We loved the bands and the fire throwers, the amazing maze and large lantern installations.

    If Vancouver is a no fun zone, it’s just because people haven’t rolled off their couches to attend these local happenings. Thanx to the Public Dreams Society and all the volunteers that made this festival a reality. So sad to hear that this festival is having to “hibernate”.

  4. SimomTuesday, July 8th, 2014 — 12:29pm PDT

    I sad to say that I am happy to see it go. I live right across the street and the disrespect and damage to peoples property is pathetic. Every year we get flowers tramped on or ripped out and a boulevard full of beer bottles, trashed lanterns, food wrappers and garbage. People attending park on the boulevards , block garages and laneways. The Public Dream Society and the Park Board are totally inconsiderate of the fact that those of us who live here want to go and have friends over and they did NOTHING to ensure that we could safely get to our homes and park. Not everybody wants to participate and we should be able to go about our lives instead of having to stay home to protect our property. The event has changed over the years. Too many looky loos who don’t bother to build a lantern. The magic is gone. Release it with love.

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