Twilight lantern parade and harvest festival light up Renfrew Park

Celebrate the harvest moon amidst a sea of lanterns at Renfrew Park Saturday, September 25.

Credit: Rebecca Coleman

Twilight lantern festival at Renfrew Park in East Vancouver

Giant moon lantern leads the parade at Renfrew Park.

Annual lantern parade and harvest festival lights up Renfrew Park in East Vancouver, celebrating community, the arts and the natural environment


The eighth annual Renfrew Ravine Lantern Festival , held in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood of East Vancouver, is a celebration of the full moon and abundant harvest, honouring a world tradition rooted in human history.


Harvest moon

The harvest moon is the full moon closest to fall equinox. Due to a short moonrise at this time of year, there is virtually no period of darkness in between sunset and moonrise. In the past, this was useful for farmers working to bring in their fall crops. The continuation of light caused by the harvest moon allowed them to work well into the night. Many towns had harvest moon festivals to indulge in food and merriment brought on by this fall harvest.

As part of this annual celebration, co-produced by the Still Moon Arts Society and the Renfrew Park Community Association, the community participates in lantern-making workshops, performance rehearsals and ravine stewardship leading up to the Moon Festival Harvest Fair and Twilight Lantern Parade, which will be held this year on Saturday, September 25, 2010.


Moon Festival Harvest Fair

You don’t need to go to the ‘burbs to witness the harvest of handgrown produce. Tucked away in an urban oasis, bordered by the bustling streets of Slocan and 29th Avenue, the day begins with community members entering their garden wares in a competition of the biggest and best looking fruits and vegetables at Slocan Park. Admire prized heirloom tomatoes and gawk at giant, gnarly squashes while munching on fresh, homemade bannock and soup made from vegetables donated by gardeners and local produce stores.


 Lanterns line the trail around Renfrew Ravine in preparation for the Twilight Lantern Parade.


Twilight Lantern Parade

As the sun sets and moon rises, crowds gather at Slocan Park in anticipation of the Twilight Lantern Parade, which winds along the Renfrew Ravine and ends in Renfrew Park [map]. The arrival of a giant moon lantern marks the beginning of the glowing procession, led by musicians and performers. A trail of lanterns weaves its way through fields, past urban forests and alongside streams dotted with glowing lights and floating candles.


The parade ends at Renfrew Field, where community partners have arranged a tea garden with moon cakes, a stage for live multicultural music and dance performances, and tables full of supplies for making origami boats to float candles in the wading pool in the centre of the field.




 Mooncakes are a traditional Chinese pastry eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Try one at Saturday’s Renfrew Ravine Lantern Festival. (Image: Flickr / Miss Karen)


Renfrew-Collingwood seniors have been working hard to make floating lotus blossom lanterns while students from Windermere Secondary leadership classes have been creating streamside installations of jellyfish and star lanterns for extra atmosphere in this true community celebration.


Make your own lantern

Public lantern-making workshops are offered prior to the festival. Join Yoko Tomita Monday to Friday this week, 4–8 p.m., at the Renfrew Community Centre, Room 108, 2929 East 22nd Ave, Vancouver. The cost is $12 to make a globe lantern and $17 for bamboo frame lanterns.


Yoko is on hand to help the old and the young make stars, moons or wildly abstract lanterns so that even the artistically challenged will wind up with a glowing masterpiece for the Twilight Lantern Parade.


Still Moon Arts Society

The Still Moon Arts Society was formed in 2004 by artistic director Carmen Rosen, who has championed several community arts projects in the surrounding neighbourhoods in previous years. Seeing a great opportunity to formally continue community engagement through the arts and environmental stewardship, Rosen collaborated with the Collingwood Neighbourhood House, the Arts Pow Wow, Renfrew Community Centre Society, the Collingwood Community Policing Centre, and Windermere Secondary School to form the society.


In addition to the annual lantern festival and harvest fair, the society has organized watershed awareness projects, the development of native plant gardens, the construction of an outdoor labyrinth, youth performance groups and community partnerships.


Moon festival event schedule


4–6:45 p.m.  Harvest Fair at Slocan Park – food, music, art and harvest abundance.


7 p.m.  Twilight Lantern Parade along Renfrew Ravine from Slocan Park to Renfrew Park.


7:30–8:30 p.m.  Lanterns, art, music, tea and moon cakes at Renfrew Park.


8:30 p.m.  Finale at Renfrew Park field – live music, dance, stilts, fire and fireworks.


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