By Phil McLachlan
A dark snowy night was interrupted by the bright lights of hundreds of lanterns marching down 1st Avenue towards the Fernie Aquatic Centre.
This bi-annual lantern festival, hosted by the Fernie Arts Station, reached an all time record high in attendance numbers, attracting over 500 people to celebrate in a unique art project experiment.
“We started planning in August,” said Erin Teeple, Administrator for the Fernie & District Arts Council/The Arts Station. “We have a really dedicated committee of artists that get together and start conceptualizing the idea.”
The community events that were also hosted by the Arts Station as a build up to this event were all very successful, and the Lantern Festival finished off the project with a bang.
Fernie Hospice was in attendance, selling lanterns as a fundraiser for their organization.
The march traveled from the Arts Station to the Fernie Aquatic Centre, where a forest full of colourfully-lit creatures and mysterious creations stunned those attending.
With a ‘Northern Lights’ theme in the 2014 Lantern Festival and an ‘Into the Woods’ theme for this year, 2018 looks to another exciting and unique themed event which is yet to be announced.
For many years the Arts Station has been working to bring art to the community of Fernie and engage the public in an informative way. Teeple believes that this is extremely important to the well-being of a community.
“Art can be thought provoking, emotionally responsive and create a dialogue within community,” she said. “’Into the Woods’ engaged our community by encouraging public participation in both creating a lantern and showcasing it in the parade and installation site.
“When we invite others to experience art or create their own work; magical things start to happen. New worlds are created like ‘Into the Woods’.”