Lantern festival lights up night in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — The moon, the stars and the sun came out Saturday night as more than 200 people gathered at Memorial Field to welcome the new year at the second annual Lantern Festival.

“This is my first year,” said Sandra Stowell, holding an enormous lantern shaped like a giant sun.

“Next year I’m going to make something easier.”

Organized by artist/puppeteer Thaddeus Jurczynski, the Lantern Festival is the local version of a traditional Chinese New Year celebration.

As people entered the gate, they were given pieces of paper and asked to write down things about their lives they wanted to get rid of and wishes for the new year.

Then they walked a labyrinth laid out with candles, placing the old thoughts in a cauldron, guarded silently by two robed figures with gold-painted faces.

“I don’t know who they are,” Jurczynski said. “They just showed up.”

Workshop results

Jurczynski held lantern-making workshops during February, where Patricia Lund made the star she held out of bamboo and blue tissue paper.

Sara Fullerton also made a blue star, while her mother, Lisa Olsen, carried a yellow one.

Maureen Piper walked the labyrinth encased in a white horse made of tissue paper, complete with tail.

Doug Mason held a lantern shaped like a salmon that his wife, Meg, made for his 60th birthday.

“It’s a chum salmon from Chimacum Creek,” Doug said. “It’s my birthday present.”

Chuck Natziger of Bow brought a lantern shaped like a white dove complete with olive branch in its mouth. He walked the labyrinth three times.

“I made one trip with the dove for peace, one trip with the salmon for the environment, and one trip with the tinkley thing for me,” he said, referring to a pole with wind chimes.

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