As autumn approaches, Saanich is getting ready to welcome the change of seasons with its modern tradition of the Moon Festival this Saturday.
The sixth annual community celebration showcases multicultural talent from around the region, in addition to marking the coming of fall. The festival, held at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre and Lambrick Park, coincides with the lunar calendar to ensure a bright full moon over the park.
“It’s a celebration of light, but also of the multicultural community and heritage of both our own region as well as the Gordon Head neighbourhood,” said Brenda Weatherston, community arts specialist with the district.
“It started as an event in partnership with the Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria and developed out of their Luminara celebration.”
Perhaps the biggest draw of the event is the illuminated lantern procession, which sees hundreds of glowing lanterns light up Lambrick Park at twilight. A number of large lanterns designed by local artists will be installed around the park, in addition to regular lanterns carried throughout the procession.
“We get somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people in that procession,” said Weatherston, “and it’s been growing every year. It’s a wonderful celebration – there’s lots of creativity.”
Attendees are welcome to bring their own lanterns or make one at the rec centre’s lantern making station from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for the cost of $3.
At 6 p.m., the live entertainment kicks off with displays by local performing arts groups, including the Victoria Chinese Performing Arts, Furusato Dancers, Sampaguita Dancers, Victoria Chinese Seniors, Shan-e-Punjab Dancers, Victoria Chinese Dance Academy and Uminari Taiko. Some of the performances will be held inside Lambrick Park Secondary.
Then, around 7:45 p.m., everybody will light their lanterns for the procession, led by Uminari Taiko. Light refreshments – including mooncakes and tea – will be available throughout the evening, with the procession ending at 9 p.m.
Admission is free and the event will also feature food trucks, hands-on bucket drumming and fire truck tours with the Saanich Fire Department.
Parking is limited, so attendees are asked to walk, bike, take transit or park offsite to get to the event.
For more information, call the Gordon Head Recreation Centre at 250-475-7100.