The Lantern Festival is a public project. Victoria Park is the canvas for the festival, and the festival highlights the historical and natural features of the park, including the annual daylighting of buried Bennett’s Brook with a river of glass jar lanterns. The sheer number of people who attend the festival and enjoy this vital urban space after dusk is astounding.
The Lantern Festival is an initiative of the Friends of Victoria Park, a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization comprised of concerned citizens and community members.
Formed in 1998, the Friends of Victoria Park (FOVP), are a concerned group of West End residents and community members who came together in May 1998 as a result of the closure of the swimming pool in Victoria Park. Through the summer of 1998, the Friends worked closely with the city on a number of Park projects: overseeing a successful summer recreation programme and, the installation of new playground equipment (a donation from Saturn and Hickman Motors). Our goal is to ensure that Victoria Park regains and retains its historical place as a vibrant, safe and enjoyable environment for all residents and visitors.
ST. JOHN’S BEST KEPT FESTIVAL SECRET
Now considered one of the most colourful and multicultural gatherings in St. John’s, the Lantern Festival begins with months of grassroots planning: steering committee meetings; partner and volunteer recruitment; train the trainer sessions; fundraising; and staff hiring; not to mention the public lantern-building workshops, special events and outreach activities in the summer weeks leading up to Festival Day. Every effort has been made to keep our events accessible to everyone so admission is free or by suggested donation.
THE LANTERN INSTALLATION
The Lantern Installation is a key part of the festival’s magical appeal. The steep topography of the upper park is the perfect canvas on which to display the creative efforts of the community’s lantern building. The installation varies from year to year, and each year there is something new. The installation is one of the most logistically complicated parts of the festival and is entirely a volunteer effort.