Guemes Island gets lit
What: Earth Day Luminary Parade
When: 6 pm Sat., Apr. 27
Where: Guemes Island General Store, Guemes Island
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
For the past month or so, Loalynda Birds of Guemes Island’s Paper Birds Studio has been busier than usual. Along with her usual artistic endeavors, she’s been teaching folks from Guemes Island and its surrounding areas how to make paper luminaries, the colorful and whimsical vessels of light Birds has become known for.
Since the middle of March, she’s led a series of workshops in Anacortes, at the Guemes Island Community Center, and in her own studio, teaching folks how to harness light in a luminary of their own making. Along with the suns, moons, stars, flowers and more standard luminary fare, workshop attendees have brought to lighted life everything from peacocks and poodles to tiki torches and what appears to be a giant beet.
All of them are crafting with a purpose: to light up the night as part of the Earth Day Luminary Parade, which takes place Sat., April 27 on Guemes Island. Birds has a big hand in the now-annual tradition on the tiny island a short ferry ride away from Anacortes, as does that central hub of island activity, the Guemes Island General Store. Even though it happens five days after, the Luminary Parade is a celebration of Earth Day, perhaps underscoring the ever-more-urgent idea that every day should be Earth Day.
Whatever the logic involved, my general stance with regard to all of the shenanigans the Guemes Island General Store gets up to is to be in full support, and the Luminary Parade is no different.
It seems silly to have a parade without music, and so music aplenty there shall be at the Luminary Parade. The family-friendly outing begins before dusk, at 6:30pm, with TapWater’s Rudy Slizewski kicking things off. After that comes a drum circle (BYOD—Bring Your Own Drum), which will set the beat for the parade proper. When darkness falls—at 8:30pm or thereabouts—Guemes Island will get lit with fanciful, larger-than-life luminaries, and all those workshops and hours spent creating the lighted pieces will pay off in a grand coming together of a community to make something beautiful. As the parade ends, Ebb, Slack and Flood will show up to take the party into the night—not too late, however, as the ferry doesn’t run all night.
If you’d like to take part in the parade, there’s no involved application process or vetting procedure to this come-one, come-all affair. You need only show up with your luminary at the appointed time and—just like that—you’re in the parade. Should you want to attend the festivities, it’s as simple as making your way to Anacortes and catching the ferry for a ride that tops out at five minutes. Even easier, you can walk onto the ferry in Anacortes, walk off on Guemes, and walk across the street to the Guemes Island General Store. It may be in the middle of nowhere on a tiny island, but it couldn’t be much easier to get to. Feel free to arrive with an empty stomach so that you can partake of some of the General Store’s tasty fare, including excellent clam chowder, deep-fried cheese curds, and an array of inventive sandwiches, all made from scratch.
If you happen to see a friendly woman marshalling a luminary army, it’s highly likely that person is Birds. Introduce yourself, and inquire about next year’s workshops, if you’re so inclined. You never know when you might be moved to light up the night.
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