“We all have different taste in women!” the girl exclaimed, after she and my friend and I had compared the swimsuit lanterns hanging from the trees. Of the three of us we’d each chosen a different one as our favourite.
From nearby we heard the band start up, and we went off to check out the live music, complete with swirling lasers and smoke machine.
The first night was quiet, us having gotten there on the late side just as the rain was stopping. We found pies for dinner and watched the Jan and Ezy Spectacular on stage doing a fantastic job of a variety of songs, from Shania Twain to Billy Idol to Bananarama, complete with costume changes.
In between band sets we wandered the streets, admiring the ultra-creative lanterns, decorated storefronts, and wandering entertainers such as robot man, clowns, and all manner of other creatures draped with fairy lights and glowsticks.
The twinkling lights combined with the wintry feeling made the Canadian in me feel a bit like I was at home at Christmas time, out looking at the neighbourhood light displays.
A keyboard allowed festival-goers to operate a lit-up spiderweb, making a crazy, colourful light show at the whim of whoever was at the controls.
On the second night of the Illume Festival we planned better. We arrived just in time to see the parade, the street lined with a crowd of people all trying to stay dry in the pouring rain. Floats went past with glowing jack-o-lanterns, sunflowers and butterflies, monster faces, and once I even caught sight of an angel.
There was the mandatory Frozen float occupied by Anna and Elsa and Olaf, and some lit-up motorcycles driven by skeleton faces. A tiny engine from the Driving Creek Railway also made an appearance.
After the parade the rain continued, but it seemed to know that we’d had enough, and it stopped just in time for a rather impressive fireworks display.
Then the band started. Tonight it was the Rocking Roller-Coasters, who played THREE energetic sets of 50’s and 60’s hits, from Elvis and Buddy Holly right up to The Doors and The Who, finishing off with an encore of a couple of songs from Grease. The music from that era is so much fun, I simply could not keep myself from dancing!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Illume Festival, but this was a fantastic way to brighten up the sometimes dreary mid-winter feeling, as well as to celebrate the strong sense of community that seems to exist in this small town.
A big thanks goes out here to the lady in The Source Artists’ Collective who gave us glowsticks so we could feel like part of the festivities!
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