So long winter says Maple Ridge Festival of Light

Annual event in downtown Maple Ridge celebrates district's multi-cultural heritage

Kauhane Polynesian dancers perform at last year’s Festival of Light.

Kauhane Polynesian dancers perform at last year’s Festival of Light.

A spark of light can drive away the winter blahs, warm a chill evening and illuminate a  dark skies.

Ineke Boekhorst hopes to do just that on Friday at the 4th Festival of Light – an annual event meant to brighten winter and celebrate all the cultures who call Maple Ridge home.

“We wanted to show off all the different cultures in Maple Ridge and felt that there wasn’t a festival where you could experience all the cultures that live in our town,” said Boekhorst.

Since it began as a celebration to pump up Maple Ridge for the Olympics, the Festival of Light has now grown to feature a cross-section of entertainment including the Stave Falls Scottish Dancers, First Nations storytelling, a choir and a lantern parade.

This year, a Chinese lion dance troupe will make an appearance and led the parade through Haney Place Mall into Memorial Peace Park.

There were 25 entries for the festival’s poetry contest this year judged by Nitta Spittel and Shari Craig.

The winners will share their rhymes and verse on stage.

“The lanterns brings light back into the community where we’re hoping for spring to come soon,” said Boekhorst.



The Festival of Light begins at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24 in Haney Place Mall. Lantern workshops will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The lantern parade begins in Memorial Peace Park at 7:45 p.m.


4 p.m. –  Stephanie Kwasnica, emcee

4:15 p.m. – Poetry reading

4:30 p.m.- Pamela Sunshine

4:45 p.m. – Hill Academy of Dance

5: 15  p.m. – Stave Falls Scottish Dancers

5:30 – Poetry reading

5: 45 p.m.- Hmong dancers

6 p.m. – MRSS Chamber Choir

6:15 p.m. – Kauhane School of Polynesian Dance

6:45 p.m. – Helene Levasseur – French Folk Songs

7:15 p.m. – Lion Dance

7:45 p.m. – Lantern Parade through the park and free hot chocolate donated and served by Willow Manor Senior’s Residence.

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