Firelight Lantern Festival: Sharing the Light Over Winter

We all have our differences. Different interests, different ideas, different sets of skills and talents, yet there are two things we all share. The first thing, is our desire to create artistic connections and development within our rural communities. We believe our towns and villages are jam-packed with inspirational creativity, and we need to share those skills and talents with neighbouring communities and friends.


The second thing, is our mutual hatred of the extended winter season. Perhaps I speak for everyone, but I am fairly sure we are all just “over it” by the time April rolls around, am I right?


With these two common denominators in mind, Krista Dalby of Picton, ON, decided the world needed a little more light. So for the past five years, she has been creating it.


On November 18, 2017, Picton Ontario will be celebrating their fifth annual Firelight Lantern Festival.According to Dalby, the festival is designed to symbolize the importance of creating your own light within the community, and carrying that warmth with you over the cold winter months to follow. In the months leading up the the event, Dalby and a group of other dedicated community members travel around the county, leading workshops on how to make your own beautiful lantern to light up the night sky. They travel to schools, workplaces, restaurants, and even personal homes to connect different community members, all working together towards a common goal. At this point, they can safely say that they have taught over one thousand people the tricks of the trade, and there are no signs of slowing down.


All this preparation leads towards one magical night of dream-like whimsy; with twinkling lights, colourful costumes, world-class entertainment, and beautifully hand-crafted lanterns lighting up the sky. The evening itself is breathtaking, yet Dalby says the weeks leading up to it are in actuality the highlight of the entire event. Weeks and months of community involvement, team-building, problem-solving, and further development of the arts in Picton. “Building community is goal #1,” states Dalby, “and all of our work as a community builds towards one beautiful night we can all share.”


Dalby moved to Picton from Toronto seven years ago, and was surprised that the area seemed to be lacking a model of community engagement. She attended the first SPARC symposium in 2014 and was inspired by the fact that so many people from neighbouring rural communities had a drive to be a part of something “bigger than themselves.” Dalby states her interest in discussing funding, talent, and further arts development, yet above all, she is excited to see so many like her, keen to make a difference in their communities and spread a little light.


For more information on the Firelight Lantern Festival, and to look at the beautiful pictures from previous years, be sure to check out their blog, at or check out their Facebook page Firelight Lantern Festival.


Who knows, maybe next year, if we all get together and make a lantern, this long cold winter won’t seem so long and cold after all. We all need some light to guide us, and it all starts with a spark…

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