Innisfail Lantern Festival postponed until August

Organizers of Innisfail event acknowledge later summer dates better fit for entertainers and volunteers

INNISFAIL – The second annual Innisfail Lantern Festival has been moved to August.

The festival, originally was scheduled from July 2 to 16, will now run from Aug. 6 to 20, with the 20th being the date of the big eight-hour main event at Centennial Park.

Organizer Dale Dunham said the decision did not have anything to do with this year’s late spring and early summer inclement weather but rather with timing and key players wanting to take advantage of the lifting of COVID restrictions to take in early to mid-July events and activities outside of Innisfail.

“With everything opening up, a lot of them had made other plans or had other offers, especially the entertainers because of Stampede being on and a lot of the different First Nations events that are going ahead,” said Dunham. “So, it was looking like we were not going to have the caliber of show that we wanted to.

“With that in mind we discussed it and reached out to the committee and the board decided to postpone it until the end of August. That way we would have more opportunities to find new entertainment or work with the ones we’d already booked and gave us another six weeks to be able to get more kits and more information out into the community and just put on a better show.”

The show in August will pretty much mirror the one originally in place. Only the dates have changed. The lantern building workshops for kids, teens and adults are now scheduled for Aug. 6 and 13. The location and times will be announced closer to the dates.

The main festival date of Aug. 20 will run from 3 to 11 pm at Centennial Park, with music and performers starting at 5 pm and going until 10 pm

There will be a Food Truck Festival from 3 to 10 pm; face painting and glitter tattoos from 3 to 9 pm and lantern decorating from 3 to 7 pm

The festival will have a kids’ Parade of Light at local senior residences starting at 6 pm This will be followed by a grand finale twilight celebration at dusk.

Dunham said the decision this year to postpone the festival has made committee members seriously consider moving the festival permanently to mid to late August.

“That way people and a lot of families are back from vacation, and kids are getting ready to go back to school,” said Dunham. “It’s sort of an anchor event for the summer. And it gives us a little bit of a break between Pride and it will space things out a little bit better too.”

He is also mindful not to “burn out” his loyal volunteer team.

“We rely so heavily on the volunteer base here in Innisfail. I mean they’re great. But you know we’ve got mural projects going on. We have Canada Day going on. We’ve got all these other things going on,” he said.

“People are stretched very, very thin right now. Plus, people are wanting to spend time with their family and friends.

“It would just make more sense, and I don’t think anybody that I’ve talked to has been upset about it. I think if anything the overwhelming response has been, ‘oh, this is good. This is really good.”

For more information on the event and to find out about volunteer opportunities go to the festival’s website at innisfaillanternfestival.ca or email info@innisfaillanternfestival.ca

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