Festival of Lights 2013

Luminary lined path.  Credit: Tim Fenner

Luminary lined path. Credit: Tim Fenner

On the longest night of the year, when all is dark, celebrations of light and thanksgiving erupt through cultures across the globe.  Scientifically known as the winter solstice, as the Earth’s northern hemisphere tilts away from the sun, this night, though dark and cold, is filled with warmth and cheer as we celebrate our annual Festival of Lights event.

Lighting the Hanukkah menorah.  Credit: Tim Fenner

Lighting the Hanukkah menorah. Credit: Tim Fenner

Now, more than seven years running, our Festival of Lights tradition has increasingly grown in popularity.  To accommodate the rising number of ticket sales, this year we expanded the event to include two nights.  Totaling 322 in all, our guests were comprised of families, local business folks, Conservancy members, new faces and familiar friends.  A fabulous time was had by all.

The Christmas tree, generously donated by Heritage Farms in Peninsula, was gifted to a local Akron family.  Credit: Tim Fenner

The Christmas tree, generously donated by Heritage Farms in Peninsula, was gifted to a local Akron family. Credit: Tim Fenner

Ranger Margaret and Intern Mysha teach guests about Kwanzaa.  Credit: Tim Fenner

Ranger Margaret and Intern Mysha teach guests about Kwanzaa. Credit: Tim Fenner

Following luminary-lined paths through the forests on the EEC campus, guests visited eight different stations; each one highlighting a different global solstice celebration.  Each stop provided guests with information about the tradition, a game or craft, and a taste of a traditional dessert from that part of the world.  Guests had a blast gambling with toga clad interns at Saturnalia, writing wishes on Loy Krathong’s floating wreaths, tasting dumplings at Dong Zhi, and enjoying the warmth of the bon fire at Yule Log.  Other represented traditions included Christmas Tree, Chanukah, Kwanza, and Yalda.

Dreidel dreidel dreidel I made it out of clay.  Credit: Tim Fenner

Dreidel dreidel dreidel I made it out of clay. Credit: Tim Fenner

Amy and Maureen entertain guests with their lovely music.  Credit: Tim Fenner

Amy and Maureen entertain guests with their lovely music on Thursday night. Credit: Tim Fenner

Admission also included a beautiful pork dinner prepared by our Conservancy catering staff.  Since the dining halls were decorated with greenery, bows, lights, and cranberry centerpieces, you almost forgot you were eating at a camp.  Guests raved about the delicious food, saying it may have been the highlight of their night.

The Yule Log fire was a great place to warm up on these chilly nights.  Credit: Tim Fenner

The Yule Log fire was a great place to warm up on those chilly nights. Credit: Tim Fenner

A huge thank you goes out to all of our volunteers and Conservancy staff that helped make this event possible.  To those who attended the event, we truly appreciate your support and hope to see you again next year!

Krathongs floating on the pond.  Credit: Tim Fenner

Krathongs floating on the pond. Credit: Tim Fenner

Loy Krathong station.  Credit: Tim Fenner

Loy Krathong station. Credit: Tim Fenner

 

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