This year’s ninth annual Polka Dot Dragon Lantern Festival in Nelson, themed “Deep Sea Dreamscape,” will be a two-day event.
Initiated by artist Myra Rasmussen in 2014, The Polka Dot Dragon Lantern Festival is an outdoor, community-engaged arts festival showcasing local artists and performers.
This year, there will be an exciting new addition to the festival: a community lantern parade through the downtown core this Friday, Feb. 9.
The parade will be led by Moving Mosaic Samba Band and will feature the Polka Dot Dragon Lantern Puppet, as well as creations by local artists, including jellyfish, octopi, a sea turtle, and more. Everyone is welcome to bring a lantern and participate in the parade or just to come and observe.
On Saturday, Feb. 10, the public is invited to head down to Lakeside Park to stroll among the lantern installations and enjoy the ambient performances. The installations range from shipwrecks to whale skeletons to deep-sea vents, and everything in between. Community members can bring their own lanterns down to Lakeside and join the interactive experience.
The evening will culminate with the debut performance of Baque Zero Graus playing maracatu and a procession to the beach led by the Polka Dot Dragon Lantern Puppet.
Part of the appeal of this festival is the invitation for everyone to get involved. This year, Live-it Earth has created an instructional video on how to make an anglerfish lantern, and supplies can be picked up at the Association des francophones des Kootenays Ouest (807 Baker St) for $3. There are also the traditional jar lantern kits with jellyfish silhouettes available for purchase at Cowan’s for $2. Sky la
nterns are prohibited.
This Lantern Festival is hosted by Polka Dot Dragon Arts Society and funded by the Province of British Columbia, Columbia Basin Trust, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, and Nelson and District Credit Union.
The festival is free to the public, but donations are welcomed.
Additionally, the Polka Dot Dragon Arts Society will be hosting a fundraiser, “Viva Carnaval!” at the Royal on Feb. 23 to raise funds to keep providing free community arts events in the coming year. The event will also be an opportunity to celebrate carnival traditions from Latin America and the Caribbean, which are the embodiment of community-engaged arts.
The show will start with a showcase of performers from Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago and features traditions such as frevo and maracatu. Following the showcases, a silent auction and dance party will be held, with DJ ViraVira and DJ Dubconscious playing Latin and Caribbean beats. Costumes and masks are encouraged; entry is $15.