Adley Bruneau revved up young Lantern Festival goers last year by filling the Tofino Botanical Gardens with bubbles. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Tofino Lantern Festival an illuminating experience

You should expect to have your mind blown.”

Locally crafted lights will illuminate the Tofino Botanical Gardens on Sunday at the Raincoast Education Society’s 18th annual Lantern Festival.

“When it comes to the Lantern Festival, you should expect to have your mind blown, your soul rejuvenated, your senses stimulated and happiness to flood over you,” the society’s executive director Mark Maftei told the Westerly News. “It’s going to be great. We’re, obviously, really excited.”

There will be no parking at the Gardens during the event, so goers are encouraged to take advantage of a free shuttle, which will be offering rides to and from the festival from Tofino’s Village Green from 7-11 p.m. Admission will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the trails opening up at 8:30 p.m. Admission costs $15 and is cash-only at the event. Children 12 and under can explore the festival for free.

“The Botanical Gardens will be illuminated with 1,000 shimmering candles in hundreds of beautiful, one of a kind, artistic, creative lanterns,” Maftei said.

The festival will include a children’s lantern parade at 8:15 as well as live music and a multimedia art installation created by ‘Capturing the Coast’ photo contest winner Nicolas Teichrob.

“What I think is really cool about the Lantern Festival is you’re going down all these little paths and you never know what’s around the next corner. It’s always something different. Whether it’s some crazy lantern or whether it’s someone doing some kind of performance art,” Maftei said. “It’s an awesome time. You’re in nature and you’re surrounded by all these great people and all this beautiful stuff to look at.”

He said approximately 1,200 people attended last year’s festival and that the event is the society’s largest annual fundraiser with proceeds going towards free educational programming throughout the West Coast.

Anyone wanting to create their own lantern to bring to the festival can build one at daily workshops being offered at the Raincoast Education Society’s office inside the Botanical Gardens Ecolodge building from 12:30-5 p.m., Aug. 6-10.

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