Raincoast Education Society’s signature community event and largest fundraiser is just around the corner. All proceeds raised at the festival go directly towards supporting outdoor field programs in local schools.

Tofino Lantern Festival ready to shine

On Sunday, August 14 at 7:30 p.m., the Tofino Botanical Gardens will raise the curtain on the 16th annual Tofino Lantern Festival.

Nora O’Mailley


Our midsummer’s night sky will soon be lit up with hundreds of gorgeously handmade lanterns.

On Sunday, August 14 at 7:30 p.m., the Tofino Botanical Gardens will raise the curtain on the 16th annual Tofino Lantern Festival. The children’s parade starts at 7:45 p.m. and the trails open at 8:30 p.m.

One of the West Coast’s most popular community events and a major fundraiser for the Raincoast Education Society, the Lantern Festival draws a size about 800.

“It gets people from both towns out all at one time. It’s a great event that way,” said the supreme director of the Tofino Botanical Gardens George Patterson.

But due to the large volume of foot traffic, event organizer Cindy Hutchinson said they are trying a new crowd management tactic this year.

“We’re going to try doing a one-way flow through the gardens. It will help with kids and smaller people on the trail who might not necessarily be seen in oncoming traffic,” she said.

As far as entertainment goes, “we’re pulling out all the stops,” said Hutchinson. Feature musicians include: Ucluelet’s Left at the Junction, Tofino Choir for Grownups, DJ TAKO, and Luke McDonald. Delicious treats will be provided by Darwin’s Cafe, Solidarity Snacks, and Flo’s Pies. There will also be dancers to warm-up the early crowd and fire spinners to cap off the night.

Hutchinson described the Botanical Gardens as a magical place that’s perfectly suited for the aura of glowing lanterns.

“There’s definitely that feeling of magic and of comfort when you come here,” she said.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the event is encouraged to visit the Raincoast Education Society Facebook page to sign-up. Volunteer roles include: helping with workshops, security detail, festival set-up/take down crew, and trail keepers or call 250-266-4138.

Leading up to the event, daily lantern-making workshops are being held at the Econolodge in the Tofino Botanical Gardens on Wednesday, Aug.10 from 2-9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 11 from 2-9 p.m., and Friday, August 12 from 12-7 p.m.

Supplies and pre-constructed lanterns are available for $10-$15. The Tofino Lantern Festival is a cash only/car-free event. Tickets are $15 per person and children 12 and under are free.

There is a free shuttle bus that will run between Tofino Village Green and the Botanical Gardens starting at 7 p.m with the last bus leaving the gardens at 11 p.m.

For full schedule, visit: www.tofinobus.com.