Illuminares Lantern Festival, Vancouver
For one day in July or August every year at TROUT LAKE near COMMERCIAL DRIVE, a group called "Public Dreamers" puts together "ILLUMINARES." This is a wonderous evening of tribal music, fire dancing and lanterns. Trout Lake is a huge park surrounding, what else , a lake. The entire park is filled with lanturns. Hanging from trees, floating on the lake carried around on poles, the whole park is lit up by tiny candle lights. The lanturns themselves are all made by those attending the event. Everybody bring's one, or two, or five. There are lanturn making workshops available while the sun is up for those unprepared. Every one who attends not only watches the events unfold, they become participants creating and shareing with everyone else. Some create larger than life laturns in the shapes of monsters or animals. Entire sceanios are created, like an under water scene, with lanturn fish hanging from the trees over a lanter treasure chest and giant lanturn octopus. Once the sun sets the park is secluded from the citys lights and the only light seen is from the thousnds of lanturns. Looking down on the park is like looking at something magical. Tribal musicans start a giant parade of hundreds. Following the parade and its hypnotic beats has a very pagen feel to it as you dance between trees waving lanturns with everyone else. The parade creates a giant circle halfway through the park where fire dancers preform. Music accents some wild dance choreography with torches. Fireworks end the show which prompts the parade to start anew. The tribal music and dancing sweep through the park leaving everyone with an ethereal feeling. The entire event, which could only happen with the particpation of every one attending kind of creates itself as the night goes on. The best part is it's free. The workshops charge a fee for supplies.
Making a lanturn before hand with friends either at the workshop or at home is half the fun.
This is quite a summer spectacle! Locals make lanterns out of paper and bring them to Trout Lake where everone walks around and shows them off. There is also music, fire breathers and a little bit of fireworks. Definately a summer highlight, and great for all ages.
Up to 20,000 people carrying home-made paper laterns and candles light up Trout Lake on a warm July evening each year. It's an absolute dream-like atmosphere. There are usually clowns, jugglers and people on stilts there too -- and all kinds of freaky people -- giving it a real festival feeling. You can buy lanterns there, but it's even better to make your own. There are lantern-making workshops at various locations around Vancouver (go to the website -- URL below).