The skies will light up this Saturday at the second bi-annual Fernie Lantern Festival. Members of the community have been hard at work the last few weeks creating their very own lanterns to be a part of the evening’s festivities.
The Arts Station hosted several community builds during the month of November to give everybody the opportunity to be involved. “They really serve as a kick off for the event and get people motivated to go,” said Courtney Baker with The Arts Station. “It just gives people some guidance who might not know where to start when given the task of building a lantern.”
She went on to say, “It also gives you a chance to be around other people doing the same thing, exchange ideas, and really make it a community event. Starting from a month ahead of time, right up to the day of the festival.”
In addition to the community builds, over 200 local students spent time in The Arts Station getting creative. Kids of all ages from Isabella Dicken Elementary, Fernie Academy, and Fernie Secondary School created over 100 lanterns that will be part of a large school of fish display that will celebrate the festival’s theme, rivers on fire.
Building on the inaugural festival’s theme, water on fire, this year’s event will be a little different. “Last time we started here and ended it at the aquatic centre. It moved a lot in terms of actual locations, but as far as when things happen it was quite static. There was one big show, one big entertainment option,” Baker explained. “It was great, but we thought if we keep it [at The Arts Station], then we can hopefully make it a bit more of an experiential event, as opposed to having it all scheduled out.”
The lantern festival originally started as a part of The Arts Station’s 20th anniversary celebration two years ago, however the plan is to make it a regular, bi-annual event.
“It was a successful event last time so we didn’t need to switch it up that much, but on the other hand the event has to evolve,” commented Baker. “You don’t want to do the same event every two years. Hopefully two years from now it will be different again.”
The festival begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a myriad of live entertainment, including carnival acts, a spoken word performance, puppet dancing, and fire spinning. A parade of lights will make its way down Main Street, a shadow box installment will be set up on The Arts Station’s stage, and of course, community built lanterns will be plentiful. Hot chocolate will be available to keep festival goers warm, and the evening will wrap up with fireworks at 8:30 p.m.
Baker remarked, “It’s a great event and I hope it continues for many, many years and that we can really make it a Fernie specific event.”