“There’s lots of food and games there. They have a barbecue on the go and there’s people doing face painting and magic and all this different kind of stuff,” said Ashley Barrett, a day camp leader at Virginia Park.
“We (camp employees) volunteer on the day of the festival and we work with the Lantern Festival committee to make lanterns with the kids,” she said, adding she helped a group of about 50 camp kids, from ages 5 to 12, make jar-shaped lanterns on Wednesday.
“They enjoy it, with all the different colours and stuff like that. They enjoy that they get to light them up.”
The 17-year old Barrett said she volunteered with the festival last year as well and has been a visitor to the festival “a bunch of times” before that.
“I find it’s really good. A lot of the people from the community go, it’s really nice and it looks really pretty in the night time when all the lanterns are lit up,” she said.
“A lot of the kids in the camps here, their families go to the Lantern Festival, but it’s not something they have to do.”
Leading up to the festival, organizers offered lantern making workshops to the public and some lanterns from those workshops will be added to this year’s lantern display in the park.
As festival organizers stated in a release on the 2010 event: “The Victoria Park Lantern Festival is a participatory event that brings people together to celebrate their community and light up their park with hundreds of home-made lanterns. This festival strives to encourage artistic expression, public participation and community-building in the Victoria Park area, and to ensure the park remains a vibrant part of our urban landscape.”
“There’s lots of food and games there. They have a barbecue on the go and there’s people doing face painting and magic and all this different kind of stuff,” - said Ashley Barrett, a day camp leader at Virginia Park.
The festival runs through the afternoon and early evening when, as it gets dark enough, the lanterns are lit. There follows a lantern procession around the park.
Sunday has been designated as a backup date in the case of bad weather on Saturday. Gates open at 2 p.m. There is no charge to attend the day festival, but donations are welcomed.
If you are unable to make the festival day, there is a second chance to see the handmade lanterns the festival centres on. A display of lanterns, being called “Sprouting Light,” can be seen at The Sprout restaurant on Duckworth Street until Aug. 1. The lanterns there will be distributed after the showing, as per the results of a silent auction. The auction is accepting bids until the restaurant’s closing time tonight.
The festival is supported by the Friends of Victoria Park community group (www.fovp.org).