Firelight Lantern Festival takes on new meaning in COVID-19 Pandemic

The 2019 Firelight Lantern Festival. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

As with many annual events, the Firelight Lantern Festival is having to adapt to the pandemic. With this in mind, the Department of Illumination has recently announced a new take on the well-loved Lantern Festival for their eighth annual event, promising to bring light to a time of exceptional darkness.

This year’s festivities are dubbed “Together/Apart”, reflecting the paradox of being connected while isolating.

As part of the event, the public is invited to partake in free lantern making kits and online tutorials, a community lantern gallery, a scavenger hunt, and some special performances screening online November 7.

Since 2013, members of The Department of Illumination have taught more than 1000 people how to make their own beautiful, handmade lanterns to carry in the whimsical parade that stretches down Main Street each year.

This year, organizers have adapted the program in order to keep the community safe while still marking this cherished annual tradition.

The lanterns that we create each year are a symbol of conjuring our own light to sustain us through the dark winter months,” said Artistic Director Krista Dalby. “Of course, this symbolic act is now more important than ever.”

Beginning October 12, lantern making kits will be available at Books and Company. This is sponsored by the Picton Recreation Committee.

Each kit contains almost everything needed to make two small or medium lanterns. Participants will have to supply their own scissors and a plastic table covering.

For those who have never made lanterns before, The Department of Illumination will be providing two lantern making tutorials through their website: www.deptofillumination.org.

Those who participate in the lantern making are encouraged to bring their creations to Books & Company between 10 a.m. and noon on Friday October 30 to display in the community lantern gallery in the bookstore’s window until November 6.

All participants will be entered in a draw to win one of three gift certificates to the store.

From October 24 to November 7, people can join in The Great Lantern Hunt for their chance to win some more prizes.

For the lantern hunt, there will be 20 star-shaped lanterns displayed in windows of businesses all around Picton. Each star has a word written on it. Participants are encouraged to write down the name of the business and the word on the star and send to krista@deptofillumination.org by November 7 at 5 p.m. for a chance to win.

To conclude festivities, and instead of a parade, organizers have put together a program of local music, promising surprises and inspiration for those who participate. For more information about this or any other aspect of this year’s event, please visit www.deptofillumination.org.