A winter tradition will soon light up the streets in the Village by the Sea.
Come Dec. 8, as darkness falls, a procession of lanterns will travel a parade route from Healing Circles to Soundview Center in Langley.
Now in its third year, the lantern walk is a free, multi-generational event. It began in 2019.
“The idea was to bring out people in Langley we want to support that often aren’t included,” said Shannon Arndt, one of the event’s organizers.
The lantern walk follows a slightly different route every year, but the start and endpoints have always remained the same. The event is coordinated by Roots, a program of Healing Circles that focuses on community wellness. The program has a variety of offerings, from a scavenger hunt in the spring to monthly free exercise classes of yoga, Pilates and Zumba. Much of the programming happens at Soundview Center, whose mission intersects with that of Healing Circles.
Participants of the lantern walk will meet at 4:30 p.m. at Healing Circles for warm drinks and last-minute lantern preparations. Lanterns can be made at home, but extras will be offered to those who don’t bring one.
Lanterns are lit by some source of light – whether that be a cell phone flashlight or an LED candle – but not flames.
“I think if you can imagine it, we can make it work as long as it doesn’t have actual fire,” said Carrie Whitney, another organizer for the event.
In the past, creative participants have filled bags with lights, or wrapped sticks with them. Arndt encouraged people to think of their lanterns as their own personal little light.
The parade begins at 5 p.m. and ends around 5:30 p.m. at Soundview Center with cookies, more warm drinks and live music. Those who cannot complete the walking portion of the event are invited to come directly to Soundview Center.
Though the organizers often get a lot of questions about whether the event is just for kids, Whitney emphasized that it’s open to all in the community, including senior citizens.
“It’s for anyone that longs for a connection with people,” she said.
Arndt anticipates many people showing up for the event. The very first lantern walk in 2019 drew about 100 participants, even though it was the rainiest day of the year.
“There is something magical about being out in the dark, with a little light to keep you safe,” she said. “We hope that many in our community get to experience that together this Friday.”