Lighting up Sidney’s pier with lanterns

The second annual lantern festival — which has been renamed the Salish Sea Lantern Festival — August 20.

Jennifer Witvliet shows off her large salmon lantern

The second annual lantern festival — which has been renamed the Salish Sea Lantern Festival — will bring the community together to celebrate the beauty and culture of the Salish Sea.

Called the Children’s Lantern Procession last year, the event will display colourful lanterns created by children and families. The lanterns will be on display along the railings of Sidney’s fishing pier.

Artistic Director for the event Jennifer Witvliet said this year they have a bit more money to work with from the CRD and other sponsors, whose logos will be put onto various lanterns.

“The main sponsor for this one was Michele Holmes (of Holmes Realty),” she said, adding that her mother was telling Holmes about the plans for this year’s festival and she hopped on board, giving $1,500.

“So it was her money and her enthusiasm and her support that just got me going like ‘yeah I’ve got to do this again.”

The other sponsors include McTavish Academy of Art, Deep Cove Market, Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, Brentwood Bay Village Empourium and Salvador Davis.

The festival is nothing new for Witvliet who has been working at lantern festivals for the last 10 years, beginning with luminara, which she still does at Gordon Head Recreation Centre.

“I’ve been doing it in other communities, but this is my community. I was born and raised here and I have two kids so I just wanted to do it close to home and just share it with my community,” she said.

Also new to the festival this year is entertainment, which will take place at the start of the festival on Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. There will be face painting, bubbles and balloon artists on the lawn by the Sidney band shell.

Witvliet has also been going to the SENCOTEN Survival School, offering to go to one their immersion programs on Aug. 8 and 9. She will bring her supplies to them and will teach them how to make lanterns. In return they have agreed to come to the band shell at 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 to welcome everybody and sing a song in their native language, leading the procession.

Witvliet will be offering two lantern making workshops coming up at Tulista Gallery on Aug 6 and 7 and Aug 13 and 14 for kids and families.

The festival will run on Aug. 20 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. beginning at the Sidney band shell. Lanterns will be on display along the fishing pier for all to see, including paper bags, which all of the kids will get the opportunity to decorate in their workshops.

The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea will be extending their hours that day to 8:30 p.m. and will also be taking part in the lantern festival.

For more information on the festival and signing up for workshops, people can call the Community Arts Centre at 250-656-7400.