Haney Place Mall will be lit up this Friday with lanterns of various colours, sizes, and shapes for the 12th annual Lantern Festival.
Put on by the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association, in partnership with the Maple Ridge Festival of Light Society, the free family event will include a lantern making workshop and silent auction to support the future of the festival.
“This very popular event has given hundreds of children in our community a chance to create some amazing lanterns out of recycled items and other craft materials,” said BIA event coordinator Coree McIntosh.
There is also continuous live entertainment, including Flamenco dancers from Spain, Asi Somos and his Venezuelan band, and Raven – an Aboriginal hoop and jingle dancer. Other performers include Boris Sishon and his instruments of the world, Healing Drum with Marie Josee, the Dunvegan Dance Academy, Rebecca Sishon, Peggy Peat Dance School, Spirit of Dance, Abbotsford Dance Centre, Maple Ridge Dance Circle, and Collage Acapella.
Guests are encouraged to stay to the end and be part of a lantern parade led by the Vancouver Chinese Lion Dancers, “my absolute favourite,” said BIA executive director Ineke Beokhorst.
“The BIA hosts the event… because it’s such a great multicultural event during the dark winter months,” Beokhorst said.
Sammy Nelligan, who was one of the original organizers is still on the festival society’s board, and while she is unable to still organize the Lantern Festival anymore, “the downtown Maple Ridge BIA is happy to continue the tradition,” Beokhorst said.
The Lantern Festival runs from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28.
For more information go to downtownmapleridge.ca.