Festival Founder Tim Lack joins in at the West Vancouver Community Day Parade.
Long before blogs and iPads, the festival was the original social networking platform, the place where a community would gather to take stock of itself, celebrate the best of its traditions, and renew the relationships -- one to one, family to family -- that give life meaning, security and joy. The work of the festival has always been to build community and to do so, going back to the root of the word in "feast", in a spirit "characterized by rejoicing".
You can see this on the front page of this website, a sampling of the faces of the hundreds of performers and the thousands of people in their audiences who set aside the pressures of the holidays to connect with the best spirit of our community, the true spirit of the season. The experience was powerful because, as we rolled into the longest nights of the year, we gathered together in the ancient and beautiful duty of making sure no one is left out in the cold. And it was a ton of fun. Keeping the concerts free, holding them in the wheel chair accessible shelter of the beautiful Festival Longhouse and Nativity Pavilion, and timing them to make sense for the needs of families in the busiest season of the year allowed us to collect ourselves in a spirit of rejoicing because no one was left out in the cold. Thanks again, O Department of Canadian Heritage, for helping us make this possible last season.
But here's the thing. Even as we work now to create the program for the Festival's 20th Anniversary this season, in the height of summer, www.dundaravefestival.com continues to log 1500 hits on its website each (way off season) month. This is a bit of a mystery because, although Morris dancers, children's choirs, massive mariachi orchestras, show tunes, and stellar folk artists are always in season, this is very much a website that celebrates the light of the Christmas season. So why the interest even through the summer months? It comes back to this fact of community, and the ordinary miracle -- to borrow again from Sarah McLachlan -- of the ways we need each other, reach out to each other and deepen in each other a sense of belonging.
None of this happens automatically, and we're grateful for the love and support the Festival receives from its circle of Founders. Moving forward to our 20th Anniversary this season, we're working out new ways to keep the Dundarave Festival of Lights inspiring and inclusive. This means, first of all, keeping its concerts absolutely free. It also means tapping into the power of our forest of Christmas trees -- the only one of its kind in coastal British Columbia -- to help us end homelessness beautifully. Because no one should be left out in the cold.
To find out how you can support the Festival, or to share with us your ideas for ending homelessness in our community, post a comment to this blog or contact us here.
The Dundarave Festival Society
We are a circle of friends working in the Dundarave Festival of Lights Society to bring to life the promise of Christmas in our community, a season of life, passion and purpose that leaves no one in the cold. This is community-driven social change, in the true spirit of Christmas and the best spirit of our community.