Lumière Lantern Festival brightens the night

The sky is illuminated with beautiful handcrafted artwork in this festive night of lights

Two TRU students and one high school student from Kamloops Princess Parties and Events participating in the festival with their lanterns. (Jennifer Will/Omega)

Two TRU students and one high school student from Kamloops Princess Parties and Events participating in the festival with their lanterns. (Jennifer Will/Omega)

Although the nights are getting darker now that the days grow colder, that was not the case on Nov. 26 when the sky was lit with beautifully handcrafted works of art. Downtown sparkled as all the wonderful lights were brought to life in preparation for the holidays. Many owners of downtown businesses used their windows as displays for lights and lanterns. “Lights in the Night,” also known as the Lumière Lantern Festival, was sponsored by the downtown business association, in relation with and organized by the Kamloops Art Council.

Kamloops Heritage Society opened their doors for participants and other patrons to get out of the cold and to join in on some festivities. They had a lot of activities for the children such as a variety of crafts, including making decorations for their own Christmas trees, and colouring. For the adults they had carolers singing some jolly tunes and Christmas classics. They provided all of the guests with a warm greeting, hot chocolate and popcorn. The room was packed with people having lots of fun and showing off their artwork.

Kamloops resident and artist Kirsten Atkins created an interesting owl costume that doubled as a lantern, modelled by her daughter Rain. Atkins says she got the idea for it at “an art festival up north in Wells.” Atkins made the costume two years ago, for the first Lumière Lantern Festival and has brought it back every year since. Although, she says “we were almost going to not come, but I thought one more year, because it’s getting time for a new one.”

Various workshops at the Makerspace, the Crossing Bridges Outreach Centre at Kamloops Immigrant Services and Lansdowne Village were held all throughout November and the days leading up to the event. Atkins recommends the workshops for anyone who wishes to participate next year in the parade with a piece of their own.

“The workshops are awesome. So much has been made from it,” Atkins said.

Many students and professors from TRU attended the festival, some creating lanterns of their own. Local business owners also attended with their own creations, such as the Kamloops Cat Hospital who made illuminated cat silhouettes to showcase for the evening, coming in third place for the lantern competition. Three representatives from Kamloops Princess Parties and Events attended as well with their handcrafted lanterns for the parade.

Patrons created their own lanterns and marched from Lansdowne Village to St. Andrews on the Square on Thursday night. The streets and dark sky were lit with their lanterns, making for a truly beautiful event. Once the group got to St. Andrews on the Square they lit the big Christmas tree in the fountain which “symbolizes the start of downtown Christmas,” said Kyle Jack, one of the event’s organizers. The evening was wrapped up nicely by a countdown and the much anticipated lighting of the tree.