The Art of Lights lantern festival opened on Friday, Dec. 14 in Cloverdale, more than two months after it was scheduled to debut. (Samantha Anderson)

The Art of Lights lantern festival opened on Friday, Dec. 14 in Cloverdale, more than two months after it was scheduled to debut. (Samantha Anderson)

‘A promise is a promise’: Cloverdale lantern festival opens, two months late

After months of delays due to permit issues and uncooperative weather, Art of Lights finally opens

More than two months after it was originally scheduled to debut, Cloverdale’s Art of Lights lantern festival finally opened to the public on Friday, Dec. 14.

The park was experiencing fairly high winds, but organizers said the festival would remain open.

As project manager Samuel Lee said, “A promise is a promise.”

He explained that the festival owed it to the community to be open, after disappointing ticket holders for so long. The festival is working on getting a permit extension from the City of Surrey, so that it could potentially continue to run past its scheduled close date at the end of January. But that’s a work in progress, Lee said.

For now, he hopes that people will come and experience the first-ever Art of Lights lantern festival.

Lee admitted that booking the festival for Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre Park was a “miscalculation.” The park is at the “bottom of Cloverdale,” he said, and that, combined with winter rain, made the ground unstable, adding to the complications of the project.

Despite the long months of delays due to permit issues and uncooperative weather this year, organizers still plan to return to the fairgrounds in 2019. Lee said that his proposal will be to use some of the grounds that are at a higher elevation.

When the Reporter visited the festival on Friday evening, there were few people touring the park. High winds rustled treetops, and had toppled fencing three times that day, according to Lee. The handcrafted lanterns, the largest of which stands 40 feet high, held steady.

The lanterns feature traditional Chinese motifs alongside Christmas and Halloween decorations. (The festival was originally scheduled to open in mid-October.) Music played at different displays, including one that featured animatronic dinosaurs that moved and roared.

Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre Park is located at 17728 64 Avenue on the Cloverdale Fairgounds. For event information, visit artoflights.org.


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