B.C. village hosts lantern pageant to deliver neighborhood collectively

A village within the Kootenay area hopes a pageant of sunshine will assist deliver the neighborhood collectively after a yr marked by heavy snowfall, the pandemic, and discord over the COVID-19 vaccine.

New Denver, B.C., a neighborhood of 600 folks roughly 150 km east of Kelowna, hosted its inaugural Spark within the Darkish Lantern Competition on Monday, that includes a parade of lanterns made by residents.

“It is the center of winter. The information is all unhealthy,” mentioned Rosalie Hen, founding father of the Spark within the Darkish. “I attempted to think about one thing that might deliver the neighborhood collectively.”

Village councillor Colin Moss, who helped manage the pageant, says completely different views on the COVID vaccine have divided households and friendships locally, however that the pageant supplied a chance to bridge their variations.


“COVID is such a divisive difficulty, as everyone knows,” mentioned Moss. “Vaxxers and anti-vaxxers gathered with out animosity. It did deliver the neighborhood collectively.”

Numerous organizations from the village additionally helped orchestrate the occasion: the New Denver Fireplace Division led the procession, the New Denver Hospice Society raised funds to rent the Kelowna-based bluegrass band, Beneath the Rocks, to carry out after the parade in Centennial Park, the place Lucerne Elementary college students bought hotdogs.

A growth field, bouquet and Celestial Structure

The procession began at Lucerne Elementary, with residents marching to Centennial Park with greater than 100 selfmade lanterns. 

Nearly each pupil in Lucerne Elementary made one — amongst them an illuminated growth field and a lime inexperienced dragon.

“It was cool seeing what got here out of the varsity,” mentioned Hen. “The academics put quite a bit into it.”

Slocan Valley artist Carl Schlichting spent days engaged on his creation, which he has known as Celestial Structure.

Slocan Valley artist Carl Schlichting is pictured along with his selfmade lantern, ‘Celestial Structure’ on the pageant. (Brendan Coulter/CBC)

“It is a assortment of homes,” mentioned Schlichting. “It is mainly made with bits of wooden and paper, low-cost {hardware}, and LED lighting inside.”

Previous to the pageant, Hen had additionally organized six lantern-making workshops at Knox Corridor, in northern New Denver. Contributors used papier mâché, material, wooden and pure supplies like twigs for his or her creations. 

A number of selfmade lanterns pictured on show in Centennial Park, the place the parade culminated. (Brendan Coulter/CBC)

Different lantern designs featured within the parade had been bouquets of flowers, guitars, fish, a rabbit and an octopus.

‘We’re gonna do that once more’

Hen, who spends her free time volunteering with the New Denver Hospice Society, made positive the parade circled the Slocan Group Well being Centre.

With entry to long-term residents on the facility restricted to important guests solely, the procession was timed in order that residents may wave to pals and family members as they handed by. 

Hen says she additionally wished to acknowledge the work of health-care professionals.

“We’re all feeling a bit susceptible as a result of our well being centre [temporarily] misplaced its 24-hour emergency care within the final cutbacks,” she mentioned. “We wished to cheer on our workers. They’ve labored above and past to maintain our centre open.”

A number of members wave at workers and long-term residents of the Slocan Group Well being Centre, one of many stops alongside the parade’s route. Organizer Rosalie Hen says she additionally wished the pageant to acknowledge the work of New Denver’s health-care staff. (Brendan Coulter/CBC)

Hen says she’s overwhelmed by New Denver’s response to the pageant and that she hopes to deliver again Spark within the Darkish in 2023.

“To get a complete village to return out on a Monday night time in the midst of winter … the way in which the neighborhood has responded to that is implausible,” mentioned Hen.

“We’re nonetheless pondering we’re gonna do that once more. We’ve got so many concepts we did not get to attempt.”

CBC British Columbia has launched a Cranbrook bureau to assist inform the tales of the Kootenays with reporter Brendan Coulter. Story concepts and ideas might be despatched to brendan.coulter@cbc.ca.

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