Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lost in Luminara

This was the tenth year of the Luminara festival of lights in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. It's our favourite time of the summer, the end of July, when the grass goes golden in the park and the weather is warm. For weeks ahead of the event artists and regular people too work to create lantern installations to be placed around the park. Some of them are in the middle of the lakes and ponds, some are under trees, others in the fields and meadows.

At Luminara everyone brings a lantern and many people dress up in their best midsummer night's dream costumes. There are fairies and clowns in white face, glitter masks, feathered hats and capes, dancing clothes. People crowd into the park--families with babies, kids with glow sticks, young people, old people--all in a festive mood. The park is transformed into a magical place. And there are performances too--music, dance, shadow puppets.

So last night, after a barbecue with our friends, we all went to the festival just as the sun was setting. This is the best time to see the installations and the lanterns. It's also the most crowded time. We rushed out of the house with our lanterns (solar powered garden lights) and though there were some dark clouds in the sky we were sure they'd blow away--Right?

Well, no, actually. Not right. Shortly after we arrived, it started to rain. Then there was lightning and thunder, and even a sunset rainbow. Soon it began to pour with rain, dousing all the candles in the lanterns and ruining the paper installations. It was so sad to see all the hard work melting away. Some people left but there were still big crowds milling around looking at the lights and having fun.

There were five of us and somehow when I stopped to take a photo I got separated from the group. I turned around and couldn't see the two lanterns that my group was carrying.

I was lost. And we hadn't set a meeting place, and nobody had a cell phone. And I had no purse, no money, and no identification. After walking around for about half an hour looking for them I decided to go back to where the car was parked, but I couldn't find it. Eventually I went to a nearby hotel and phoned my friend's house to leave a message. Then I stood outside the hotel in the rain and waited for about an hour. When they arrived home she got the message and drove back to pick me up and take me home.

Let's just say it wasn't the best Luminara festival we've ever attended. But it did serve as a reminder not to go to festivals without cell phones, rain coats and money!


  1. How scary to be lost! And, as an adult, you at least have the knowledge of how to get home. I'm sure it's an even more frightening experience for children. Each one of mine got lost at least once. The standing instruction was always to meet at the car - it never occurred to any of us that that might be just as hard to find. Good reminder post. .

  2. Yeah it was kind of scary. Even though I'm very familiar with the park it seemed totally different last night. I was close to tears at one point and kept thinking that I'm a functioning adult, not a little kid.

  3. I'd love to see a festival like this. I'm sorry yours was rained out and that you got lost.

    You can get yourself a little GPS that leaves virtual breadcrumbs so you can follow them home. My sister has one we use to hike the Blue Ridge Mountains-we wouldn't want to get lost there...

  4. Yes Rudee, it's a lovely festival. This little GPS sounds pretty interesting especially for hiking. It wouldn't have helped me the other night as I knew where I was--I just didn't know where my ride was!


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