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Lantern festival to illuminate New Denver

New Denver will host a paper lantern festival intended to brighten up the community at a typically dreary time of year. Spark in the Dark will be held Jan. 30 and 31.

“It’s been a cold, dark winter and with COVID everybody’s so isolated and I think the community is a little bit divided with everything that’s happened,” says Roni Jurgenson, who is one of the co-organizers.

“It’s an effort as a community to bring everyone together and make it open for all to join in and have some fun and bring a little light to the darkness.”

Jurgenson says the event is inspired by something similar held in New Denver to commemorate its millennium celebration in 2000.

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In preparation for the event, they have been holding workshops at the Knox Hall on Sundays and Mondays where people learn how to make lanterns.

“We’re hoping for at least 100 lanterns and some of the volunteers have made more than a few each,” Jurgenson says. “There’s going to be a few for auction to raise money for hospice.” Proceeds from the event will also benefit the youth centre and Lucerne school grads.

Another workshop is being held this weekend. She says there are many ideas to be found online too.

Organizers are encouraging residents to create displays around their homes on Jan. 30. The following day a parade will start at Lucerne school at 4:30 p.m., where participants will run through a song especially written by Noel Fudge for the event (you can learn it in the video below).

They will then head to the Slocan Lake pavilion so long-term care residents can see the lanterns from inside, and then end up at Centennial Park where the fire department will build a bonfire and music will be supplied in the gazebo by Kelowna contemporary bluegrass band Under the Rocks.

Prizes will be awarded for the best lanterns in a variety of categories.

Jurgenson says Rosalie Bird, Leanne Fulton, Colin Moss, Linda Norman, and Katrina Sumrall have all been major contributors to helping organize and run workshops and getting the students at Lucerne engaged. The Village of New Denver has provided support as well.

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