The Autumn Lantern Festival is returning to Saanich after a one-year hiatus.
The festival was cancelled in 2022 due to a lack of space and staff, but the district announced its return for Sept. 16, billing the event as a “wonderful way to celebrate the coming of fall together with the community.”
The free, family-friendly event promises an outdoor celebration of light and community, with beautiful lantern displays, cultural entertainment, food vendors and many other seasonal activities. A diverse range of cultural performances will take place at the outdoor stage, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy the evening’s entertainment.
Of course, there will be plenty of lanterns around, as artists and volunteers have been busy preparing lantern displays. There will also be a new feature this year — a “Lantern Loop.” Visitors can follow the self-directed loop around Lambrick House, taking in the creative illuminated displays that have been prepared.
The community is invited to create their own battery-lit lanterns and bring them along to the festival, or simply make one at one of the lantern-making stations for $5. The festival also encourages people to dress up in illuminated costumes and take part in the twilight lantern promenade on Lambrick Field prior to the grand finale Lion Dancers performance at dusk.
Another new feature will be the bike valet by Capital Bike, encouraging the biking community to decorate and light up their bikes. Prizes will be awarded to the most creative lit-up bicycles, costumes and homemade lanterns.
The Autumn Lantern Festival goes from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Gordon Head Recreation Centre and Lambrick Park. It will proceed rain or shine, so attendees are reminded to dress warmly and bring an umbrella if necessary.