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Polka Dot Dragon Festival back to enchant Lakeside Park

Lakeside Park in Nelson will play host to local artists as they showcase their talent at the eighth annual Polka Dot Dragon Festival next month.

Festival artistic director Myra Rasmussen says the festival is geared towards bringing the community together as we wait to transition seasons.

“The festival inspired a need to come together and make art in the community at this time of year,” she says. “I have a lot of experience with festivals, and carnivals around the world, so I wanted to bring some of that into Nelson.”

Rasmussen says she is thrilled to see how well the festival has been received by the community considering its humble beginnings.

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“We started quite small, just a group of friends getting together at Cottonwood Lake, then we moved it to Taghum beach for four festivals,” she says. “Last year was the first time we held it at Lakeside Park where it more than doubled.

“We did miss one year, because of the pandemic, but everyone was so excited to get out last year that the festival was very well received.”

Leading up to the festival, they have been offering lantern-making workshops, but they’re all sold out. That doesn’t mean you  can’t get involved.

“We are selling lantern kits, which can be bought at Cowan’s where people can make their own lanterns,” she says. “This is a great way for people to access their own creativity and make whatever they want.”

She says people are welcome to participate, but to be mindful of the restrictions imposed by the event. 

“Participants must follow our fire guidelines,” she says. “This means no open flames unless they are in fireproof containers, and no sky lanterns.”

Rasmussen says the festival received $30,000 from key sponsors to make this happen, including the government of Canada, Columbia Basin Trust, Kootenay Columbia Cultural Alliance, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, and the Nelson and District Credit Union.

The festival is free to attend, but donations are welcome.

The festival is scheduled for Feb. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m.

For a full list of events visit their website

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